Woman wins legal battle, may lose house

Dec. 3, 2012 at 10:24 PM
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PEMBERTON, British Columbia, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- A Canadian woman who won her legal fight with her common-law ex-husband to keep her property says she may now lose her house to her lawyer.

Dale Fotsch, 54, of Pemberton, British Columbia, spent nine years battling her former common-law husband, Leigh Wilson, who was ordered to pay court costs. She eventually won the case but ran up $180,000 in legal bills and interest, and Wilson got out from under the court order by filing for bankruptcy, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Monday.

To keep her attorney on the case, she had signed a mortgage agreement with him that calls for her to pay 18 percent interest per year. She says her bank won't loan her the money to pay off her legal bill because she already has another mortgage on the house.

"My friends and family say this can't be happening. There's got to be a mistake," Fotsch told the CBC.

"I won, but I lost. I defended myself and now I'm losing my place.

"I've worked two jobs, and I have for the last 25 years. When I was hit with this, it was just like a bomb went off in my life."

Vancouver divorce lawyer Jonas Dubas, who charges $300 an hour, told the CBC the agreement Fotsch signed is legal, the interest rate is lower than other lawyers charge and he deserves to get paid.

He has hired his own lawyer to move ahead with foreclosure on Fotsch's home.

The CBC said the Law Society of British Columbia, which governs lawyers in the province, declined to comment specifically on Fotch's case but said in general Dubas was within the rules.

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