5 On Your Side

Tarboro woman says attorney made divorce more difficult

Posted July 17, 2008 5:10 p.m. EDT
Updated July 17, 2008 10:20 p.m. EDT

— A wall in Andrea Alford’s home is covered with get-well cards and good wishes. She says they give her strength. Alford needs it right now. Not only is she battling breast cancer, but she’s also going through a painful divorce.

“They say God don’t give you more than you can handle. And I’m handling it,” Alford said.

Alford said Rocky Mount attorney Michael Spivey made things more difficult, however. After she paid Spivey $1,500, Alford said, he handled her separation and alimony.

In the months that followed, however, Alford said she had questions for Spivey, but couldn’t get him or his assistant to respond to her letters, visits or phone calls.

Karen Moss previously contacted 5 on Your Side about Spivey. She had hired Spivey to handle her divorce and said she also left messages for Spivey that went unreturned. Moss said Spivey never filed the paperwork to finalize her divorce. For months, she thought she was divorced when she wasn't.

“I was devastated,” Moss said.

Moss and Alford are just two of 15 people who complained to 5 On Your Side about Spivey.

“It makes me mad. It makes me very mad, because I hired him to help me at the worst time in my life” said Alford.

So, 5 on Your Side went to Spivey’s office. The woman inside wouldn't answer the door. By phone, Spivey said he couldn't discuss why so many people complained about him. He called that information "confidential."

After 5 on Your Side’s inquiries, Spivey finalized Moss's divorce and that of another complainant.

Spivey sent Alford a letter basically saying his representation of her ended with the alimony agreement. He said he offered her additional services free of charge simply because he wanted to help. Alford disputes that.

Spivey said he's done all he can for Alford, who found out her divorce was final when her ex-husband's insurance company canceled her coverage.

Alford said she just wants to move on.

“It's been a tough road. Very tough. But we're making it. And we have to go through today to get to tomorrow.”

Anyone with a complaint about an attorney should file a complaint with the North Carolina State Bar and with the Better Business Bureau.