getting a lawyer after the contract
I was introduced to a couple by a mutual firend last August. We completely hit it off and I was asked if I would carry for them. I was so excited. We got along SO well - we talked out all the details together and everything seemed great! When the contract was made I signed and trusted them that one lawyer would be fine. (stupid -I know)
I am now 10 weeks pregnant and there behavior towards me has completely changed. It is so sad I am now worried how the rest of this pregnancy is going to go.
Why question is- can I get an attorney now to step in & represent me or is it to late?
Okay - I am completely fine with paying for a lawyer. At the end of the contract it says I 'waived the right to an attorney'? I can still get one now? I trusted these couple and thought we were on the same page with the contract and one lawyer (theirs) would be fine.
The first payment is at 12 weeks (I am 10) and they already told me that is going to be a week late. And they questioned me about needing maternity clothes even though it is clearly stated that I get a certain amount in our contract?
They were so different when we started this now I'm scared they are going to try to take advantage of me? So I just want a lawyer so I know my rights- and so they can deal with it through their lawyer.
Thank You SO Much Rebekah!!!!
You always have the right to get a lawyer. In fact, under the Canon of Ethics, lawyers are STRONGLY discouraged from representing both parties in a contract negotiation. So, that is why it had to state that you "waived" your right to your own counsel -- Otherwise, the attorney who (supposedly) represented all of you would have been violating the ethics rules. So, now you can withdraw your waiver and say you want your own attorney. IF they were offering, initially, to pay your attorneys' fees (which is standard), you can try to have them give you an amount to consult an attorney now... but it sounds like money is not the issue. So, the cleaner way is simply to retain your own attorney, and then have your attorney send a notification to their attorney that you no longer wish to be represented jointly.
My recommendations at this point:
1. Hire an attorney who is experienced in surrogacy law, preferably under the law of the state in which the contract is governed.
2. Hire an attorney who gives you a sense that s/he is not going to make this into a "battlefield" -- after all, you are already carrying their baby -- but rather someone whose goal is to protect your rights without escalating any conflict.
3. Make sure you find out how you will be billed. For every time s/he picks up the phone, regardless of how long s/he talks? for every time s/he reads an e-mail s/he is copied on? These things add up! I used to use the "engage the brain" rule when I billed by the quarter hour (which I hated) -- if I put a call into someone but the call was so short that I never engaged my brain (e.g., is so-and-so there? No. Okay, thanks, ask her to call me), then I did not bill.
4. You can still talk to the IPs -- so sometimes it will be more efficient to talk to them directly about issues. Don't stop communicating just because you have an attorney. (It can save you money, too!)
5. Present this with a positive spin -- you just want to be sure you are all on the same page so that you have a happy next 2 trimesters... etc.
You do want a happy next 2 trimesters, right?
And, everyone else out there... read this.... remember this....PLEASE... 2 parties: 2 separate attorneys (and NOT from the same firm either!!) .... right from the start. The goal is to get all the issues sorted out before the start, so everyone can then relax and enjoy the pregnancy!
Diane Hinson, Esq.
Creative Family Connections LLC
2 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 700
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Last edited by Rebekah Rose; 06-17-2011 at 02:33 PM.