Can You Change Lawyers in the Middle of a Divorce?
The short answer to this question is “yes.” You contract with a lawyer for his or her services, and you pay an agreed-upon amount as those services are provided throughout your divorce.
But at any given time, you may decide that you want a different divorce attorney.
Before you make a switch, be certain of your reasons. If the case is moving too slowly for you, why? It may not be your attorney’s fault. If you are not happy with the cost, why? Is it because the divorce has become more complicated and now requires more hours of your attorney’s time? Again, this might be the case with any attorney you use.
However, if you are not happy with the tactics your divorce attorney is using; if you do not believe your attorney is strongly advocating for you; if your attorney is not communicating with you on a regular basis, then it may be time for a switch.
The Telltale Signs That You May Want Another Divorce Lawyer
Here are three signs that a change is in order:
- Your attorney is not returning your calls/messages in a reasonable time frame. Attorneys are busy and they have other cases. But most have office hours throughout the week, and all have cell phones to check calls, texts, and emails. If you are regularly going 48 hours with responses, it’s not a good sign.
- Your attorney seems to be disorganized. Are you getting requests for information or documents you have already provided? If you meet face-to-face, is your attorney prepared for the meeting? Or is she/he rifling through papers to find the right ones? This shows a lack of planning.
- You feel your attorney is not really listening to you. An attorney who does all of the talking, who cuts you off, or who fails to ask questions and actively listen to your answers is showing you a lack of care and compassion.
Making The Switch to a different attorney
The best plan of action for you is to find a new attorney before you “fire” your current one. You will be looking for an attorney with plenty of successful experience in family law. Check out reviews on objective websites.
And there is nothing wrong with making appointments with a few highly reputable family lawyers. You are in an interviewing process now. Gauge their listening skills; gauge their empathy for your position. And ask how they would handle the switch if you should choose to employ them. A good attorney will take over much of that switch and tell you exactly how to “fire” your current lawyer with diplomacy.
Once you have removed your original attorney, the switch must be legally handled through the court. Your old attorney will have to formally withdraw from your case, and your new one will formally become your attorney.
We understand the legal and emotional factors involved in a divorce. It is for this reason that we have experienced, successful attorneys dedicated to representing clients who are going through this difficult process. You need an attorney who aggressively advocates for you; you need an attorney who listens and communicates; you need an attorney who keeps you informed every step of the way.
At Tolison & Williams, this is exactly what you will get. Contact us today for a consultation.