Can You Change Attorneys Once Divorce Proceedings Are Underway?
Choosing a divorce attorney can be a difficult process. Not only are you going through one of the most difficult and emotional times in your life, but now you don’t feel your attorney is giving you the best representation possible. You feel as if your divorce attorney just doesn’t care. He or she has continually told you not to worry. Now you are asking yourself if it makes sense to change attorneys during the divorce process. This can be just as scary as the divorce itself.
Before just jumping up and changing attorneys, you need to ask yourself a few questions. In many cases, there could just be a lack of open communication between you and your attorney. It is possible your attorney thinks you understand something, when in fact, you do not. If something comes up and you don’t fully understand what your attorney is talking about or doing, don’t be embarrassed to ask what he or she is talking about. As an attorney, we at Kevin Hickey Law Partners want our clients to fully understand and never feel left in the dark about their cases. If you don’t understand a fee or how and why something is being charged, please ask. If an attorney is unwilling to explain these things to you, then it is probably time to look for someone else. After all, the outcome of the divorce proceedings ultimately affects you. We recommend asking yourself these questions before changing attorneys to identify the problem:
- Why are you frustrated?
- What exactly is the problem causing you to feel this way? For example, is your case going slower than expected?
- What are your expectations? Are they realistic?
The first two questions to ask yourself are helping you identify the problem, but the last question requires a bit of self-reflecting. Are your expectations realistic? Look, we love a good law television show just as much as the next person, but these shows have a way of not depicting how things really work behind the scenes of a real life case. Depending on the degree of complexity involved with your case ranging anywhere from assets to whether or not the divorce is contested, many can take months to years to get through the system. This often requires attorneys to go to court repeatedly, attend countless status conferences, hearings, pre-trial conferences, gather character witnesses, phone calls, and the list goes on and on. This is why as I mentioned before, communication is key. It might be that you simply need to ask your attorney to give you an update as to what has been done on your case.
If you have determined that your expectations are not unrealistic and your attorney is not forthcoming with information, then it is probably time to find another attorney. To help you further identify if your attorney is the problem we have developed a list of red flags to watch for:
- Your attorney is not returning your phone calls or voicemails within a business day or two.
- Your attorney consistently misses court appearances.
- Your attorney tells you he or she will do something and then not doing it or not offering a reason as to why he or she didn’t do it.
- If you attorney refuses to send you a bill so you can see how much money is being spent is not a good sign. You have the right to know how much you will owe in the end.
- This should go without saying, but if your attorney ever yells at you, calls you names, insults your or makes you cry, it’s time to find a new attorney. We at Kevin Hickey Law Partners aren’t in the business of making our clients feel bad about themselves.
Most attorneys are good professionals that only have their client’s best interest in mind, but as with anything else, there are always a few that give us all a bad rap. If you are in the middle of a divorce or any kind of family law case and you feel your attorney is not representing you the way you ought to be represented, don’t hesitate to call Kevin Hickey Law Partners today. We will help you make a smooth transition to our office.