Saves RM 200, but loses RM 500,000
( Lawyer’s Diary - Story 1)

This is a real event that happened recently, and it is also an event that makes me feel very sorry and sad. I once had a customer, let’s call her Miss A. About two years ago, I remember Miss A came to our law firm to consult us about divorce matters. Miss A and her husband have been married for almost ten years and own a property. This property was only registered under his ex-husband’s name, but not her own name. In fact, the reason why Miss A and her ex-husband would choose to divorce was because her ex-husband had an affair with another women and that relationship ended-up with divorce eventually. Miss A agreed to go through the divorce proceedings using Joint petition with her ex-husband. However, Miss A’s had one condition which is that her ex-husband must transfer that marital property to Miss A. On the other hand, the ex-husband’s condition is that he was willing to divorce Miss A, but he will not write down  that property transfer condition in the joint petition court order in their divorce application. But Miss A’s ex-husband promised Miss A that they would transfer the property to Miss A after they successfully divorced.

After talking with Miss A for about 20 minutes, Miss A asked me how much is the divorce application fee? After I told her about the service fee of our law firm, she said she would contact me again later. After a while, I phoned and asked Miss A if she still needs our law firm’s services? Miss A said, “No, because I found another law firm’s service fee  that is RM200 cheaper than ours. I smiled and said politely: “Well, then it doesn’t matter, thank you.” Because for me, business comes business go, this is what business is. 

Time elapsed, two years later which was recently, my phone rang and it showed Miss A’s call me again. I still remember her because I had a habit to record down the phone numbers and names of all customers, at least as a kind of respect for customers. I answered the phone and asked Miss A: “Miss A, aren’t you already divorced? Is there anything else I can help you?” Miss A told me that her ex-husband has not done anything to transfer the property to her. She asked me if there is any way to solve it? I was very puzzled. I asked Ms. A, “ Did you clearly write the information about your marital property in the divorce court order?” Miss A told me that her previous lawyer did not tell her to do so. Miss A’s previous lawyer just told her that due to Miss A’s and her ex-husband were applying for joint petition, so not much to talk about except the conditions. The lawyer said he will write the condition down and after that just go to court, that’s all. Sighed, I told Miss A: ” Do you know that the marital property can only be writeen in the court order at the time of divorce. It is impossible to fight for this marital property at this stage.” I also told Miss A honestly that it’s not that I don’t want to serve her and do business with her, I sincerely want to do business with Miss A, just that I can’t help her, this time I really can’t do anything.”

In fact, I often see and find such situation happened a lot. However, it is a pity that when customers consult lawyers, they only ask for the price, but they don’t see the value behind it. One thing customers need to realize is that there is differentiation between good and bad services obviously. For the sake to save RM200, Miss A lost a marital property worth RM 500,000.

Also, I have sought the consent of Miss A before this article was published. Miss A said let me post this out so that it would not happen on other people the same thing again.

BY Lawyer KHOO AI THENG,P.J.K. (NSDK)

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