When someone refers to family law, most would think divorce. Sure, this is probably one of the more widely used services of a family law attorney, but there is so much more to family law. Family lawyers are experts in a variety of practice areas. A family lawyer covers every legal matter from marriage through divorce, and can also cover other familial issues such as adoption, domestic violence, child advocacy and other related issues.
Family law can be a complex and a subjective area of the law. Hiring a Family law attorney is a smart move. They give expertise advice, help reduce stress, and work to avoid mistakes and delays.
Unfortunately, a relationship between an attorney and client doesn’t always work due to a variety of reasons for a breakdown. What are the options when a client loses their trust or confidence? For one, you certainly have the right to switch attorneys in the middle of you case.
Again, there is a variety of reasons for wanting to switch attorneys’ mid-case. The most typical reason is poor “customer service”. Your attorney becomes hard to reach, or non-responsive in communication. Their files seem disarray and are asking for repetitive information from you. Or maybe you notice the attorney is failing to vigorously investigate all aspects of your case or fail to meet crucial filing deadlines.
Maybe you discover your attorney lacks sufficient knowledge within the dealings of your case. This could actually be as a result of the type of attorney you first hired. Many mistakenly hire a general practitioner, a lawyer that focuses on all areas of Illinois law, and not a specific family law lawyer prepared and capable of handling the complexities of family-law related issues.
Whatever your reason, firing a lawyer is your right but it is a major decision and can become costly in both time and money. It’s important to not act hastily. We always encourage clients to try and first work their issues out with their current attorney. Changing your attorney mid-case should only be a last resort when things cannot be resolved. That said, if you know you hired the wrong person, switching before it’s too late is a smart idea.
Before you do anything, you will need to consider a few things:
First to consider is timing. The further along in a case you are the harder it can be to hire a new attorney. More events have occurred with new facts coming to light. This can be a timely and costly process for a new attorney to catch up on.
Secondly, it is important to consider additional costs. Your previous lawyer is entitled to be paid for their work already done. Any unearned money should be returned, but a new attorney will still require a separate and new retainer fee and possibly additional costs to expediate your case as needed.
We do suggest that you don’t fire one lawyer before you have another one in place to hire. Consider setting up consultations with potential lawyers. Do your homework. Be prepared and bring a list of concerns and questions. Your goal is to find out how they can best approach and handle your case with the most possible successful outcome.
If you do your due diligence you can find a family law lawyer that will work for you. Besides for the obvious reasons, it is also important to find a compatible attorney for you as you want to avoid switching lawyers’ multiple times. Not only is it a poor use of time and money it can cause further delay and confusion within the court system.
Family law related issues are stressful in nature. Be sure you find an attorney that helps alleviate the stress and truly works for you. Contact us for any questions or referral needs.