5 On Your Side

Nash County woman waits 2 years without action on divorce

Posted April 29, 2008 5:15 p.m. EDT
Updated April 29, 2008 9:52 p.m. EDT

— Karen Moss has accomplished a lot in a busy two years, going back to school and working two jobs. But two years after hiring an attorney, Moss still isn’t divorced.

In North Carolina, a couple must be separated for one year before getting divorced. After that, and once key points are decided, the process shouldn't take long to finalize.

In May 2006, Moss hired Rocky Mount attorney Michael Spivey to handle her divorce. She paid him more than $2,300 and expected court action by June of last year. When she didn't hear anything, she started calling.

“I couldn't get any answer except for his answering machine, so I kept leaving messages,” Moss said.

In November last year, Moss said Spivey's paralegal called to say the case was scheduled.

“November came and went and I thought, ‘Wait a minute. I haven't gotten any paperwork yet.’ So I started calling. I would call two to three times a week through December, January, February,” Moss said.

After going to the courthouse to check the records, Moss discovered that nothing had been filed.

“I was devastated,” Moss said.

Moss contacted the North Carolina State Bar and the Better Business Bureau. Spivey didn't respond to either, so Moss called 5 on Your Side.

When 5 on Your Side contacted Spivey, he wouldn't talk about why he had not finished the case. He also said he never saw a letter from the State Bar.

Regardless, his paralegal immediately re-did the paperwork and had Moss sign it.

“I feel a little victory,” Moss said.

Moss hopes that this time, Spivey will follow through and file the papers she signed.

“That's the easiest thing he had to do. That's the very easiest thing he had to do,” Moss said.

Moss said that after 5 on Your Side got involved, Spivey told her the divorce was delayed because he had another client with the same name and his paralegal worked on that case instead.

Either way, Moss now has a June court date.

Also, 5 on Your Side has received a second complaint about the same issue with Spivey. Currently, that case also appears headed in the right direction.