Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Friday, January 27, 2006

Case Law Development: Attorney Advice to Violate Divorce Decree Results in Suspension

In another blow against hardball litigation tactics in divorce actions, a divorce attorney was given a two-year suspension for counseling Husband not to comply with the part of the divorce decree requiring that transfer certain documents and information to his former wife within 30 days. Rather the attorney had drafted deeds transferring the property to others and then, after her client was in contempt, drafted a deed transferring the property to wife, even though at that point her client no longer owned the property.

The Supreme Court of Nebraska, in affirming the recommendation of discipline, concluded "it is apparent that [Attorney] assisted her client, Ronnie, in an attempt to frustrate his divorce decree and that when that attempt failed, she engaged in a prolonged series of misleading transactions intended to extricate herself and Ronnie from the consequences of her actions. Not only was her conduct deceitful and prejudicial to the administration of justice, but it was a poor discharge of her ethical responsibility to Ronnie, who landed in jail as a result of [her] counsel." The court concluded that the attorneys' conduct involved dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; that she counseled and assisted her client in conduct she knew to be illegal or fraudulent; and that she engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

State ex rel. Counsel for Discipline v. Horneber,  270 Neb. 951; 2006 Neb. LEXIS 13 (January 20, 2006)
Opinion available on the web (last visited January 25, 2006 bgf)


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