Can I Change Divorce Attorneys?
Picking a divorce attorney is a rare life occurrence. Therefore, you may not have initially chosen the best Las Vegas divorce attorney for your case. So if you’re wondering if you can change your attorney in a divorce case, the direct answer is yes. However, in some instances changing is your best option. In others, it is not. It’s up to you to decide what’s best for your unique circumstances.
Match What’s at Stake to Your Divorce Attorney
Different attorneys handle different types of divorce cases. The old adage “you get what you pay for” applies here. Unfortunately it doesn’t always, but attorneys who themselves believe that their skills only warrant low fees are usually right. Exchanging one low cost divorce attorney with another may not do much for improving your dissatisfaction. It’s important to understand that there are numerous divorce lawyers in Las Vegas and each has their own level of case complexity competence and billing rates.
Participate in Your Case
If your lawyer has requested documents, for which you have access to, and you haven’t provided them, changing to a new attorney is not the solution. And as uncomfortable as it may be to admit, if your social and/or personal behavior has negatively impacted your case, a new attorney cannot go back in time and change that. You must actively participate in your divorce case.
Communication is Key
It’s up to you to raise your concerns in a clear and calm manner. Often times it’s better to do this in writing, with emails being the most popular format. It’s important to understand that going through a divorce is a unique experience for you. Make sure that you fully understand what your attorney is doing, or failed to do, and why.
Reasons to Change
- Your divorce attorney will not return your calls quickly, or at all. You should never tolerate this. Communications between you and your divorce attorney, and their support staff, is critical in divorce matters. Changing attorneys is best if you can’t communicate regularly.
- Your attorney misses filing deadlines. Family court judges do not like it when your attorney flaunts the Nevada civil procedures.
- The filings in your case contain the wrong information. This regrettably happens too often. Some divorce attorneys use “templates” for their court filings. These templates may be copied and/or edited improperly. The best divorce attorneys insist that you read and approve every court filing.
- Your divorce attorney asks the court for extensions. There are legitimate reasons why an extension may be necessary in your case. However, if it’s a repeat occurrence, your attorney’s office probably has weak internal controls for case management. They also may have more clients than they can competently handle at one time. This is more common with attorneys that charge discounted or flat fees.
- You both cannot agree on a case strategy. Before changing, ask yourself: Is my lawyer looking out for my best interests, now and for my future? Your best short-term and long-term interests may not be readily apparent to you. Therefore, always ask your attorney how their strategy fits in with what’s best for you.
- Your attorney’s fee structure was not in writing and/or changes as your case progresses. It’s vital to get a retainer agreement in writing. Read it carefully. Beware of any lawyers that do not provide one. An attorney that promises you certain results is also a big red flag.
Changing Las Vegas Divorce Attorneys
If you determine that it’s in your best interest to change attorneys, you should observe the following:
- Interview more than one attorney whose skill set and billing fees are even with what you have stake in your case.
- Don’t fire your current attorney until you have a new one unless absolutely necessary. So maintaining a civil relationship with the lawyer you are replacing will make the change go more smoothly.
- Be certain of your new choice. The family courts frown upon repeatedly changing counsel because it takes a new attorney time to get “up to speed” on a case.
If you are thinking about a changing divorce lawyers, we may be the right choice for you. Our State Bar of Nevada Board Certified divorce attorneys provide courtesy phone consultations at no charge. Please call our office at 702-222-4021 to speak with one of them today.
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