Guzman Ariza

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chas123

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I'm an American and have been having issues around my daughter for some time. I have contacted Guzman Ariza several times and spoken at length with at least 2 lawyers. One in SD and one closer to where I live in Sosua... without going into too much detail, I would say my experience was horrendous.

As I said I spoke to more than one lawyer, and for several hours in total. I have had so many different responses on the possible outcomes of each situation, which are specifically about 2 things: visitation and child support. And I mean by that... that one lawyer would say one thing, another lawyer would say another, and then the same lawyer would later say something altogether different... all about the exact same subject. In cases, almost completely contradicting each other or themselves.

These responses at various times, ie what they have said would occur given my situation, gave me hope, ammunition vs the mother, and various talking points on many fronts. But they are so disparate that I have no idea even what the law is. The last conversation was pointless because they said I had no rights, and could do nothing to see my daughter save supervised visitation, which would occur so infrequently that it becomes pointless (and I live in this country). This is vastly different than the responses I received before, from the same lawyer and from another at the same firm.

On top of that, for their service, ie to handle child support and visitation, at first was $5000 USD, now for some reason it is $6000 USD. Both of which are outrageous sums.

I have heard many times on this board and other Dominicans and expats alike to avoid lawyers in this country. I get that now...
 
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Dr_Taylor

Guest
I'm an American and have been having issues around my daughter for some time. I have contacted Guzman Ariza several times and spoken at length with at least 2 lawyers. One in SD and one closer to where I live in Sosua... without going into too much detail, I would say my experience was horrendous.

As I said I spoke to more than one lawyer, and for several hours in total. I have had so many different responses on the possible outcomes of each situation, which are specifically about 2 things: visitation and child support. And I mean by that... that one lawyer would say one thing, another lawyer would say another, and then the same lawyer would later say something altogether different... all about the exact same subject. In cases, almost completely contradicting each other or themselves.

These responses at various times, ie what they have said would occur given my situation, gave me hope, ammunition vs the mother, and various talking points on many fronts. But they are so disparate that I have no idea even what the law is. The last conversation was pointless because they said I had no rights, and could do nothing to see my daughter save supervised visitation, which would occur so infrequently that it becomes pointless (and I live in this country). This is vastly different than the responses I received before, from the same lawyer and from another at the same firm.

On top of that, for their service, ie to handle child support and visitation, at first was $5000 USD, now for some reason it is $6000 USD. Both of which are outrageous sums.

I have heard many times on this board and other Dominicans and expats alike to avoid lawyers in this country. I get that now...
Short of being in the room with you and counsel and knowing exactly what you told counsel and what counsel told you, no one could possibly know what happened. All I can say is this: As a lawyer and former academic instructor and administrator, I used and continue to use the firm. All my interactions and assistance requests have been outstanding and 100% accurate. The firm is better than many U.S. firms with whom I dealt and with whom I consulted. With respect to the fee, I do not know what it covered; however, I would not complain about a USD$5,000 fee for a family law matter involving custody or visitation. Last, if a court is only considering supervised visitation for a parent, then there are some issues there.
 
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Caonabo

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Short of being in the room with you and counsel and knowing exactly what you told counsel and what counsel told you, no one could possibly know what happened. All I can say is this: As a lawyer and former academic instructor and administrator, I used and continue to use the firm. All my interactions and assistance requests have been outstanding and 100% accurate. The firm is better than many U.S. firms with whom I dealt and with whom I consulted. With respect to the fee, I do not know what it covered; however, I would not complain about a USD$5,000 fee for a family law matter involving custody or visitation. Last, if a court is only considering supervised visitation for a parent, then there are some issues there.
I concur.
 
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chas123

Guest
Short of being in the room with you and counsel and knowing exactly what you told counsel and what counsel told you, no one could possibly know what happened. All I can say is this: As a lawyer and former academic instructor and administrator, I used and continue to use the firm. All my interactions and assistance requests have been outstanding and 100% accurate. The firm is better than many U.S. firms with whom I dealt and with whom I consulted. With respect to the fee, I do not know what it covered; however, I would not complain about a USD$5,000 fee for a family law matter involving custody or visitation. Last, if a court is only considering supervised visitation for a parent, then there are some issues there.
I understand you may have had good service from this firm. As long as you're giving background, I am a high level finance professional who sat 2 tiers down from the CFO of the largest bank in the world (no embellishment). I have dealt with the highest level of professionals at many multi national banks, government agencies, and others about issues that are at the highest level of corporate activity... I retired at 44. All of the irrelevancy aside...

One, just one, example would be that a lawyer at the firm told me, with thorough questioning, what my visitation schedule may look like given my precise situation. He said it's based on time spent in country and gave me two examples. 1) If I lived in another country, which I don't, and came here twice a year for a week at a time, the judge would give me those two weeks with my daughter unsupervised (I took copious notes and asked several follow ups to every issue discussed). He went on to say that if I lived here full time, ie 12 months a year, again, given my precise situation (I am not a resident here), that the judge would most likely grant 2 days a month and about 2 weeks in the summer (again unsupervised)

Now he says I would never be given unsupervised visits (my situation has not changed in any way) and they would be limited.

That is but one example of something that changes the dynamic of living here for my daughter 100%.

With that said, I am not saying this firm is derelict in duty, or has some systemic problem, or is ripping people off. I am simply relating my experience.

The point on cost is precisely due to understanding the law and what I can expect for payment rendered. If conflicting information is offered, then the price is extremely suspect.
 
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jimmythegreek

Guest
I understand you may have had good service from this firm. As long as you're giving background, I am a high level finance professional who sat 2 tiers down from the CFO of the largest bank in the world (no embellishment). I have dealt with the highest level of professionals at many multi national banks, government agencies, and others about issues that are at the highest level of corporate activity... I retired at 44. All of the irrelevancy aside...

One, just one, example would be that a lawyer at the firm told me, with thorough questioning, what my visitation schedule may look like given my precise situation. He said it's based on time spent in country and gave me two examples. 1) If I lived in another country, which I don't, and came here twice a year for a week at a time, the judge would give me those two weeks with my daughter unsupervised (I took copious notes and asked several follow ups to every issue discussed). He went on to say that if I lived here full time, ie 12 months a year, again, given my precise situation (I am not a resident here), that the judge would most likely grant 2 days a month and about 2 weeks in the summer (again unsupervised)

Now he says I would never be given unsupervised visits (my situation has not changed in any way) and they would be limited.

That is but one example of something that changes the dynamic of living here for my daughter 100%.

With that said, I am not saying this firm is derelict in duty, or has some systemic problem, or is ripping people off. I am simply relating my experience.

The point on cost is precisely due to understanding the law and what I can expect for payment rendered. If conflicting information is offered, then the price is extremely suspect.
Welcome to my world.....I've talked with maybe two dozen attorneys over the last several years in this country...numerous issues from civil to criminal.....The highest quote was USD$10,000 for a criminal case and that's just to get to the preliminary. At least you were not charged for a consultation that can run from RD$15-$RD25K.....LOL.
 
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TropicalPaul

Guest
I have to say I have had ATROCIOUS service from Guzman Ariza. All of the staff in the Santo Domingo office also have this horrible attitude, like they are way more important than you are - even the secretaries. Even getting them to answer the phone is a nightmare, very often it just rings until the line cuts out. And when you do call, all you ever get is to speak to a secretary who takes a message and says that someone will call you back, and they never do. They actually have a dedicated email address for complaints - so they must get quite a few - (quejas@drlawyer.com) but nobody actually bothers to reply to messages you send to that address. And yes I have tried sending a PM to Fabio Guzman which was also ignored.

Honestly I would strongly recommend going to another lawyer. There are some very good firms in Santo Domingo. Speak to Dr Gustavo Mejia-Ricart at BMR, he is one of the top Dominican lawyers.
 
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jimmythegreek

Guest
I have to say I have had ATROCIOUS service from Guzman Ariza. All of the staff in the Santo Domingo office also have this horrible attitude, like they are way more important than you are - even the secretaries. Even getting them to answer the phone is a nightmare, very often it just rings until the line cuts out. And when you do call, all you ever get is to speak to a secretary who takes a message and says that someone will call you back, and they never do. They actually have a dedicated email address for complaints - so they must get quite a few - (quejas@drlawyer.com) but nobody actually bothers to reply to messages you send to that address. And yes I have tried sending a PM to Fabio Guzman which was also ignored.

Honestly I would strongly recommend going to another lawyer. There are some very good firms in Santo Domingo. Speak to Dr Gustavo Mejia-Ricart at BMR, he is one of the top Dominican lawyers.
Heck I would like to know what are the good law firms in SD-I've searched high and low and nothing seems to pan out, but maybe that is just me.
 
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Big

Guest
Mediating child custody disputes is an absolute no win situation. Both parties swear they are better parents, always! No money or attorney will solve the problem. I would rather have a child custody dispute with a jackal than a Dominican chica
 
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TropicalPaul

Guest
Heck I would like to know what are the good law firms in SD-I've searched high and low and nothing seems to pan out, but maybe that is just me.
I mentioned one in my post. Dr Gustavo Mejia-Ricart. Definitely one of the best. His firm is called BMR and they are based in Lincoln on the corner of Gustavo Mejia-Ricart (the street is named after his grandfather). He charges US$ 250 per hour, but he is honestly worth it. Obviously you would only get that type of lawyer involved in more complex stuff. I use a number of other more junior lawyers for more mundane work.

A really good real estate lawyer is Stanley Peña, PM me for his details.

Both Gustavo and Stanley speak very good English.
 
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cavok

Guest
Now he says I would never be given unsupervised visits (my situation has not changed in any way) and they would be limited.
What was his explanation for having previously told you that you could have unsupervised visits?
 
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sayanora

Guest
Here I'll give you free Dominican legal advice.. Settling this outside of a legal battle will cost you a fraction of the price and yield much better results.. Don't believe me, keep trying the Dominican "legal" system.
 
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lifeisgreat

Guest
Best $10 bucks you will ever spend on book “ The Art Of War ”read it negotiate take it to lawyer for final blessing...Keep smiling don’t let them see you bleed, stay away from forums with particulars until your done ...
 
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user123

Guest
My experience with them was a bad one too! When I was going through my divorce went to the Guzman Ariza office in Sosua and was quoted 2500 USD for the whole process, begging to end, no matter how many audiencias or whatever, 2500 and that's it! Then after the second audiencia the lawyer told me I had to pay 2000$ more, the reason was that the ex's lawyer had appealed or something like that so my lawyer was gonna have to go to the court a few more times. I told him that I was quoted 2500$ all in, no matter what happens, he said either I pay the extra 2000 or he wouldn't represent me anymore. I paid because I wanted to get everything over with ASAP.
 
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Fabio J. Guzman

Guest
I'm sorry that you've had this bad experience with Guzmán Ariza. I can assure that our standards for client service, which have helped us become the largest firm in the country and the correspondent in the Dominican Republic of some of the largest law firms in the world, are not as you have experienced. Please let me know the names of attorneys you have dealt with. You can write to my personal email address (fguzman@drlawyer.com) or to complaints@drlawyer.com. Thank you.
 
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JDJones

Guest
Here I'll give you free Dominican legal advice.. Settling this outside of a legal battle will cost you a fraction of the price and yield much better results.. Don't believe me, keep trying the Dominican "legal" system.
This. Time heals all wounds. I would speak to the mother, make amends, get back on her good side. Women here fight to have the father (s) of their children in their life and here's a mother who doesn't want the father around?.

I'm not interested, but there's a back story here that's not being told.

Being a financially independent person of means living in Sosua, I would think sitting down and trying to mend the relationship would be a piece of cake.

After all, there was a point in time you were both sufficiently interested in each other to make a baby.

I know women here who have multiple children with multiple fathers, and they all act like one big happy family.

A person of your intelligence and understanding should be able to figure out how they do it.
 
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Fabio J. Guzman

Guest
My experience with them was a bad one too! When I was going through my divorce went to the Guzman Ariza office in Sosua and was quoted 2500 USD for the whole process, begging to end, no matter how many audiencias or whatever, 2500 and that's it! Then after the second audiencia the lawyer told me I had to pay 2000$ more, the reason was that the ex's lawyer had appealed or something like that so my lawyer was gonna have to go to the court a few more times. I told him that I was quoted 2500$ all in, no matter what happens, he said either I pay the extra 2000 or he wouldn't represent me anymore. I paid because I wanted to get everything over with ASAP.
User123, in our firm we always have our clients approve an engagement letter stating the scope of the services to be provided to them. For litigation cases, we never quote an “all in” fee because of the nature of the Dominican court system, in which a case may have to be litigated in four different courts –Court of First instance, Court of Appeals, Supreme Court, and Constitutional Court–, involving five or more years of work.

In any case, if the engagement letter sent to you states that the fee quoted was, as you say, “all in”, please send me a copy and the firm will reimburse you immediately for the appeal charges.
 
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Fabio J. Guzman

Guest
I have to say I have had ATROCIOUS service from Guzman Ariza. All of the staff in the Santo Domingo office also have this horrible attitude, like they are way more important than you are - even the secretaries. Even getting them to answer the phone is a nightmare, very often it just rings until the line cuts out. And when you do call, all you ever get is to speak to a secretary who takes a message and says that someone will call you back, and they never do. They actually have a dedicated email address for complaints - so they must get quite a few - (quejas@drlawyer.com) but nobody actually bothers to reply to messages you send to that address. And yes I have tried sending a PM to Fabio Guzman which was also ignored.

Honestly I would strongly recommend going to another lawyer. There are some very good firms in Santo Domingo. Speak to Dr Gustavo Mejia-Ricart at BMR, he is one of the top Dominican lawyers.
Tropical Paul, I apologize sincerely for the bad service you have received. We have very strict rules in place for communication with clients, always stated in our engagement letters. Lawyers who do not respond on time have a very short stay in our firm. Please let me know the names of the lawyers who did not answer your calls by writing to me at fguzman@drlawyer.com. Thank you.

By the way, mails to quejas@drlawyer.com and complaints@drlawyer.com are received directly by me. For some reason I didn’t see yours. Do not PM me at dr1 (I only visit the site once a week and don’t have time to look a PM’s); write to me directly at fguzman@drlawyer.com and I assure you will get an answer.
 
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user123

Guest
My divorce was done in 2010 so I don't have the engagement letter or any documents anymore, but the experience was as I have described. The lawyer's name was Elvis Roqe (spelling?). The service was good and the outcome of the case was to my satisfaction, but the part about the money I would describe as a shakedown! Thank you for the reply.
 
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