Thursday, March 8, 2018

Divorce FLDS Style

An agreed-upon reprimand with probation has been imposed by the Arizona Presiding Disciplinary Judge.

The misconduct involved a dissolution of marriage matter where the attorney had identified himself as counsel to the petitioner/wife Julia Kay Jessop when in fact he had been consulted by the husband Brigham Zitting Jeffs.

Husband and wife were members of the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints church and husband did not want to be identified as the petitioner.

The attorney met with both husband and wife and the result was an agreement that "highly favored" the husband. The agreement was approved by the judge because he thought the wife had counsel.

A year and a half later, wife moved to vacate the agreement. The judge reviewed the attorney's intake form that listed the wife as the opposing party.

The consent agreement was vacated.

The stipulations note that the attorney met with the husband whi, days later, "called with 'an abrupt change of plans' and explained that because of his affiliation with the FLDS church, he did not want to be identified as the party initiating the divorce (petitioner)."

Husband told the attorney that this was acceptable to wife. After meeting with wife alone, the attorney discussed the issues and the parties subsequently executed the (unfavorable to wife) consent.

At the time, the attorney had been in practice less than two years and had "limited experience in family matters." (Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink


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