A divorce attorney works for you, it only makes sense that if you are unhappy with the work provided by the attorney that you are able to sever your working relationship with the attorney.
When firing a divorce attorney you're not comfortable working with, you can’t just move onto another. Since your attorney is on record with the courts as being the divorce attorney for your particular legal proceeding, you will need to make sure you take the proper steps before contracting with another attorney.
Tips for Firing Your Divorce Attorney
Below are the steps you need to take when firing an attorney.
- Request and pay your final bill to the attorney. Your desire to no longer work with the attorney does not relinquish you of the responsibility for any money owed the attorney. Make sure to pay the final bill and request a receipt that states your account has been paid in full.
- Notify your attorney in writing that you are discontinuing your association with him/her and will be hiring a new attorney. Your letter to the attorney should set forth your reasons for discontinuing the working relationship. This should be done in a civil, businesslike manner.
- Call your court clerk and ask if you need to notify the court of the fact that the attorney will no longer be representing you in your present divorce case. This is very important! You may live in a district that requires notification of a change of attorney or you may not. It is in your best interest to make sure you give the court proper notice. This can only be done by calling and finding out what the court considers proper notice.
- Hire a new attorney. Once you’ve hired a new attorney make sure he/she takes any steps the courts will expect from him/her. Ask the new attorney who is responsible for getting your files from your ex-attorney. Ask the new attorney if he/she needs to file paperwork with the courts and give notice that they are now the attorney of record for your case.
- Have your new attorney contact your spouse’s attorney and make an introduction as your new divorce attorney.
What Not to Do When Firing Your Divorce Attorney
Avoid these actions when firing your divorce attorney:
- Don’t lose your cool with your attorney. If you are unhappy with the service provided, move on to a new attorney without flaming the old attorney.
- When interviewing new attorneys, do not speak negatively of your old attorney. Divorce attorneys often work together in the Family Court System. What you say to one will get back to the other. Attorneys are more concerned about their relationship with each other than their relationship with you. Don’t put a new attorney in the position of having to choose who to be loyal to, you or your old attorney.
- When you talk to court personnel, don’t speak negatively of your old attorney. If you have issues with your old attorney, take that up with your state's Bar Association. You don’t want to become known as the client from hell who tells to anyone who will listen how bad your old attorney was. That will reflect more negatively on you than your old attorney.