Taking Action

Get Answers Start Your Divorce Stop Your Divorce Divorce Forms Online Support DivorceDesk

Divorce Tools

Online Divorce Online Negotiation Custody Tracker QDRO Preparation SEE ALL

Info Categories

Contemplating Divorce Children & Divorce Divorce, Dollars & Debt Divorce Laws Divorce Process Divorce Negotiation SEE ALL

State Resources

California Florida Illinois New York Texas SEE ALL

More Information

Articles Checklists Research Center Cases of Interest Dictionary Encyclopedia Encyclopedia (pop-up) Blogs

For Professionals

Generate Clients Free Network Page Submit Articles Case Management Sign In

The Divorce Encyclopedia
Malpractice (Legal)

Term Definition Malpractice (Legal) - improper or incompetent behavior by an attorney.
Application in Divorce Legal malpractice means both professional misconduct and unreasonable lack of skill. Misconduct generally implies commission, that is, doing something unethical or illegal; an unreasonably lack of skill generally implies making unacceptable mistakes in judgment or performance, such as missing a filing deadline. Legal malpractice, therefore, is a large enough term to include felonious behavior as well as incompetence.

Legal malpractice often stems from violations of the canons of (legal) ethics, which is also called the Code of Professional Responsibility. Lawyers who improperly manage funds left in their trust frequently find themselves cited for violations of the canons of legal ethics. A bomber -- a lawyer who takes sexual advantage of a client -- has violated legal ethics.

The canons of (legal) ethics are state rules established by state supreme courts regulating the conduct of lawyers. These axiomatic norms of conduct and behavior were initially adopted by the ABA and later by most states. Violations can lead to warnings, fines, suspensions and disbarment.

Settlements negotiated before a complete discovery of assets, marital and separate, pose a malpractice risk for divorce lawyers. In divorce, a majority of states now permit litigants to charge malpractice even when the parties agreed to the settlement and the court approved the agreement. These claims now stem from allegations that a lawyer failed to diligently discover marital assets. Moreover, a lawyer who fails to inform a client of settlement offer or fails to recommend acceptance of settlement offer may also be liable for malpractice. In short, in a divorce action a lawyer has a number of vulnerabilities, particularly when he or she fails to fully investigate all marital and separate property.

Add the Divorce Encyclopedia
to Your Website

The Research Center

Give Our Research Center a Try. Gain access to the same research material that lawyers often use to establish and win divorce cases. This material consists of legal journal articles and case explanation/analysis documents on a wide range of topics. If you think your situation is unique, your answers will most likely be here. In order to gain access to this area, you must establish an account, but you can search the documents before deciding.

The Divorce Source Difference

Since February 1st, 1997 (when we initially launched Divorcesource.com) we have helped millions of people contemplating or experiencing divorce. The reason we have been able to reach so many people is because we have made it a priority to listen to our customers. We have built a trust by listening and delivering what the customer needs, rather than what we think they want. This is the Divorce Source difference.

Easily Connect With a Lawyer or Mediator
Have Divorce Professionals from Your Area Contact You!
Enter Your Zip Code:

Custody Scheduling and Tracking

Easily Connect With a Lawyer or Mediator
Have Divorce Professionals from Your Area Contact You!
Enter Your Zip Code:


Start Your Divorce File for Divorce


Settle Your Divorce Negotiate Your Divorce


Track Child Custody Track Custody & Visitation

Guarantee Official PayPal Seal Facebook Twitter Versign Secure Site