Should You Fire
Your Divorce Attorney?

When and if you should fire your divorce attorney and get someone else that you believe will do a better job can be a tough decision. Jeffrey M. Leving, an attorney in the Chicago metropolitan area, offers the following considerations for firing your divorce attorney.

Fire Your Divorce Attorney If:

  • You've spent a lot of money and see no activity or results.

  • Your attorney doesn't understand or agree with your position.

  • You have little to no communication with your attorney except for requests for more money.

  • Your attorney ignores your instructions with no explanation or discussion.

  • Your attorney appears to be too busy (or not interested enough) to devote the time your case requires.

Avoid Acting on Impulse

Tempting as it may be to think about firing your current attorney and find another one who you believe is more suited to you and your case, think twice. There are several issues to keep in mind as you weigh the pros and cons of firing your attorney.

  • Money

    You must be prepared to "settle up" with your first attorney before he or she will release your file. Then, most likely, you must pay a retainer for the new attorney. For some folks, this double outlay of cash is simply impossible.

  • Time

    To firing your divorce attorney and replace him or her with a new one means that your new attorney will need time to become familiar with your case. And that likely means delays. You'll have to decide if the delay is worth it.

  • Your Reputation

    Changing attorneys (especially more than once) can leave you looking like a problem client. Even though this may not be the case, it's possible that the Court will view it that way. Again, you'll have to decide if changing attorneys is worth the potential bad reputation.

Still Want to Fire Your Attorney?

If you've weighed the pros and cons and still arrive at the choice to fire your divorce attorney, then by all means, trust yourself and take action. The simplest way is to choose a new attorney and let him or her contact your former attorney and arrange to transfer the file.

If you feel the need for closure with your first attorney, write a brief, business-like letter in which you inform him or her that you are terminating their services and wish to have your file transferred to your new attorney. It should be as simple as that. Pay the remainder of what you owe and move on.

Sometimes Attorneys Fire Clients!

There are times when attorneys decide that they must terminate services with a client. The reason usually falls into one of these categories:

  • Failure to replenish the retainer or bring outstanding accounts current.

  • An overwhelming personality conflict. Most attorneys will put up with a lot of bad behavior from clients before withdrawing. But it isn't a good idea to push your luck.

  • A conflict of interest. This should be noted before taking the case, but...sometimes it happens.

  • A caseload that does not allow the kind of attention your case requires.

If this happens, don't sweat it. Simply interview other attorneys and find someone who provides a better fit for you and your needs.

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