What You Need to Know About Switching Attorneys Mid-Divorce

If an attorney is not up-to-par, a client may wish to change attorneys during their divorce case. Here’s what to know about switching attorneys mid-divorce.

A client can change attorneys during a divorce case if they are not satisfied with the attorney’s services or abilities. If the proper steps are taken, then this transition should not hurt the client’s case, and can in fact improve their case if the next attorney is of higher quality. These steps include ensuring that the next attorney is hired before the current attorney is fired.

Can I Switch Attorneys During My Divorce?

If a person wishes to change their attorney during their California divorce case, they usually may do so. They must first ask the judge for permission, and this permission generally will be given. However, if there is an upcoming trial, the judge may ask that the client wait to switch attorneys until after the trial.

Switching attorneys midway through a divorce can add to the expense of the divorce process. In addition to paying the attorney’s fees for the first attorney up until they are fired, the client will have to allow the new attorney time to get up to speed with the case. This can be time-intensive (and therefore money-intensive), especially if the divorce has been going on for a long time.

Why Some People Switch Attorneys

A primary reason that people may wish to switch attorneys during their divorce case is if the divorce process is taking far longer than reasonably expected. Indeed, every divorce is different, but a person can reasonably expect that a divorce of a certain complexity should take a certain amount of time. One should closely analyze why their case is taking longer than they expected, perhaps even consulting a second attorney to ask their opinion. If the attorney is to blame, then the client may wish to switch attorneys.

There are countless other reasons why a person may switch attorneys, including:

  • The attorney does not return calls/emails on a timely basis
  • The attorney withholds information regarding bills and payments
  • The attorney is rude or unattentive
  • The attorney does not appear in court when they are supposed to

Related: What You Can Do if Your Attorney Isn’t Doing Their Job

Is it Harmful to Switch Attorneys Mid-Divorce?

Every divorce is different (and so is every attorney), so the answer to whether or not it is harmful to switch attorneys mid-divorce depends on each case. For instance, if a client wishes to change attorneys because they think the process is not going fast enough, they may want to switch attorneys. However, if the process is actually proceeding at a normal pace and the client is simply impatient, then switching attorneys may only serve to add confusion to the process. If the attorney is actually proceeding at a slow pace, then going through the hassle of switching attorneys may be beneficial. Similarly, if the attorney is ineffective in any important way, then switching attorneys may be beneficial as well.

In other words, it is up to the client to determine whether or not switching attorneys is appropriate and will serve to benefit their case. If they are having trouble discerning whether or not they should switch attorneys, they can directly address the issue with their attorney or seek a second opinion from a different divorce attorney.

Related: How to Choose an Attorney in California

If the client determines that switching attorneys is the right path to pursue, they should follow certain steps to ensure that the transition is not harmful. First, they should find and hire a new attorney before proceeding any further. This will ensure that there is no period of time in which the client does not have legal representation during their divorce case. They should also request all relevant documents from the outgoing attorney and ensure that all of their bills are paid in full. The new attorney should be provided with the documents as well as the contact information of the previous attorney. The client should also ensure that they are able to pay the extra fees associated with hiring a new attorney.

If you are in need of an expert divorce attorney, contact Her Lawyer to be put in touch with an attorney who will ensure that your rights are protected during your divorce.

FAQs About Switching Attorneys Mid-Divorce

Can I switch attorneys midway through my divorce in California?

Usually, yes. However, the judge may decide to not grant the attorney switch if there is an upcoming trial, or if the case is almost over.

Should I switch attorneys midway through my divorce case?

It depends. If you truly believe that based on factual information your attorney is not doing a proper job, then you may want to consider switching to a better attorney. You should always ensure that the fault lies with the attorney before switching to another.

Why do people switch attorneys midway through a divorce?

Some people may wish to switch attorneys during divorce if the divorce process is taking longer than is reasonably expected due to mistakes on the part of the attorney. Or, the attorney may be inattentive, rude, or be prone to missing court appearances.

Is it bad to switch attorneys mid-divorce?

If the previous attorney is not doing as good of a job as they should be and the proper steps are taken to ensure a smooth transition, then switching attorneys mid-case can actually be beneficial. However, it may be harmful if the previous attorney is actually doing a good job and the client mistakenly places blame on them. As such, before switching attorneys, clients must ensure that the attorney is to blame for whatever they are unsatisfied with.

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