Changing Family Law Attorneys in the Middle of Your Case
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It is not uncommon for someone who is unhappy with their current attorney to switch attorneys in the middle of their case. If you are in the middle of your divorce or other family law matter and have come to realize that your lawyer isn't right for you, you are certainly allowed to hire someone new.
Typically, people who call us looking to hire a new lawyer do so because their current lawyer has poor customer service or doesn't feel the lawyer is fighting for them. The client is the customer and your lawyer should always treat you with respect, return your phone calls or emails promptly, and make you feel like your case is a top priority. Many attorneys tell clients they will do something and then fail to do it.
Often, people going through a divorce or other family law related issue call us looking to change attorneys because they hired a general practitioner, meaning the lawyer focuses on all areas of Illinois law, and are not prepared to handle the intricacies of a difficult or complicated divorce or other family-law related issue.
Regardless of the reason you want to hire a new lawyer, consider setting up a consultation with another lawyer to see if going in a new direction is what you need. Make sure you bring a list of the concerns you have with your current attorney and ask the new lawyer a lot of questions. You want to find out how they will handle your situation differently, how they will approach your case and what they will do to achieve success for you.
If you decide to hire a new attorney you will have to pay a new retainer fee. If you paid your old attorney a retainer fee, any unearned money should be returned to you. Your old attorney will have to turn over your client file as well.
Before firing your current family lawyer, make careful decisions and do not act hastily. Far too often clients fire their family lawyer because things are not going as planned or they do not understand how the legal procedure works, and they end of regretting it greatly.
We always encourage people to try to work things out with their current lawyer if possible, especially if you are looking to change lawyers at the last minute. Switching family lawyers right before trial has the potential to cause more harm to your case than help. For example, if you fire your old attorney and hire a new one right before going to trial, your new attorney may not have enough time to prepare and if the Judge won't grant a continuance your case may be sunk.
Switching lawyers multiple times is also not a good idea. It is not a good use of your time and money, and it can cause further confusion and delay. Some family lawyers won't want to even consider your case if you have changed lawyers more than two times. If you are switching make sure that the new lawyer you hire is truly the right one for you. Of course you can never be 100% sure of that, but you can certainly be thorough in your interview process.
Family law related issues are stressful. Your family lawyer should not be a constant source of additional stress to you. If you have any questions about your current situation or would like a referral to a new lawyer who fits your needs, please contact us. We will try to point you in the right direction, even if that means helping you realize that not switching lawyers is the right thing to do. Our service is free and speaking to our staff of attorneys is 100% confidential.