When Can/Should You Look for New Counsel to Handle Your Divorce?
When you’re a party to a divorce, it’s important to have a lawyer who understands your situation and what you need, someone you know will listen to your concerns and help you take the right steps to protect you and your family. What are your options if the attorney you hired has a different perspective on what’s in your best interests? What if you just can’t seem to get on the same page? Can you switch lawyers in the middle of a divorce proceeding? If so, is it always a good idea?
Can You Change Attorneys While Your Divorce is Still Pending?
While there are limits on if and when an attorney may withdraw from representation of a client, a client may generally terminate a relationship with a lawyer at any time and for any reason. In fact, it’s pretty common. The reasons most commonly given for changing legal counsel are:
- The attorney and client cannot effectively communicate
- There are personality differences that are having a negative effect on the relationship
- You have fundamental disagreements about legal strategy
You have the right to regular and effective communication with and from your attorney. Poor communication can leave you frustrated at best, and may have a detrimental impact on the outcome of your case, at worst.
Communication problems can take many forms. Your attorney may be poor at communicating information about your case in a timely manner. Your attorney may tend to use legal jargon or fail to adequately explain the law, the process, your rights, your options or your likelihood of success. Your lawyer may have taken on too many cases, meaning you won’t get a return call or e-mail in a timely manner, or may only be willing to discuss your case by phone or e-mail. If you’ve tried to improve communications without success, it may be time to seek new legal counsel.
When There’s a Personality Clash
It’s critical that you work with a lawyer who makes you feel comfortable. If you don’t, you find it difficult to fully address all important issues and your stress level will most likely go up dramatically. If you find yourself annoyed with your attorney on a regular basis, or you find yourself withholding information, you likely have a trust issue and need to find new legal counsel.
When Your Attorney Wants to Take a Different Approach than You Do
You look to your legal counsel for guidance, for experienced advice about how to best achieve your goals. Nonetheless, it’s your case and your life that will be affected. If it’s important to you to maintain a positive relationship with your ex and your attorney seems to be intentionally creating conflict, you may need a different lawyer.
Ask Yourself—Is the Timing Right to Replace My Lawyer?
Though you can always terminate your relationship with legal counsel and hire a new attorney, there are times when doing so may be counterproductive. For example, if you’ve been unable to amicably agree on custody, support, visitation or property division and you have a trial schedule in the next month or two, it’s probably a mistake to replace your attorney. The court may or may not grant an extension to allow new legal counsel get up to speed. If they don’t, your attorney may be at a distinct disadvantage.
Contact the Divorce and Family Law Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment with an experienced Texas divorce and family law attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at (844) 402-2992. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.