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Can I Change Attorneys After My Proceeding Starts?

Getting a divorce is a complex process that can leave even the most prepared of individuals feeling overwhelmed and confused. Therefore, many turn to a skilled divorce attorney to guide them through the process.

When you hire a divorce lawyer, you expect them to be there for you and to protect your rights. Unfortunately, not all divorce lawyers have their client's best interests in mind, and for some, they may begin to wonder if their attorney is doing everything they can to assist them.

Common Reasons People Switch Divorce Attorneys

It is not unusual to switch attorneys in the middle of divorce proceedings, spousal support talks, or child support and child custody cases.

There are several reasons people pursue new representation. Some of the most common reasons are because their current attorneys:

  • Rarely, or never returns phone calls or emails
  • Are consistently late or misses court appearances
  • Don't provide adequate updates on what is happening with their case
  • Haven't followed through on promises to make requests or act on details important to the case
  • Communicates in an intimidating way towards
  • Don't update their client on their current bill, either regularly or when requested
  • Requests the same documents multiple times, even if they've been submitted already
  • Misses court-established deadlines or asks for extensive continuances because they are not prepared

Your relationship with your divorce lawyer should be built on trust and communication. If you find that your attorney is falling short on their promises to assist you or has a lack of experience, you can seek new counsel to take over your case at any time during your divorce proceedings.

How Do I Change Divorce Attorneys?

In the event that you are not satisfied with your existing legal counsel, there are a few things you can do to change lawyers without compromising your divorce proceedings. When changing divorce lawyers, follow these steps:

  1. Look for a new divorce attorney before ending your relationship with your current attorney.
  2. After signing a contract with the new divorce attorney, alert them of any upcoming hearing dates and filing deadlines immediately.
  3. After you have retained a new attorney, you can then end your relationship with your current divorce lawyer. When doing this, you should write a letter of termination that includes the date, the contact information of your new attorney, and a formal request to forward your case's materials to your new attorney.
  4. Obtain copies of any outstanding bills with your existing attorney. If you began your case with a retainer fee, then you should verify the balance and ask for a refund if applicable.
  5. Have your new attorney file an "Entry of Appearance" document that notifies the court that they will be handling your case moving forward. Your spouse's attorney should also receive a copy of the document, so they are aware of the change as well.

If you are considering changing divorce attorneys, and are not sure how to move forward, contact our experienced divorce attorneys at the Law Office of Michael R. Young today by calling (909) 315-4588 to schedule a consultation.