Are you unsatisfied with your attorney’s representation during your divorce? Changing lawyers is your right as a client and we outline how it all works below.
The attorney-client relationship is a delicate one, especially when dealing with sensitive issues like divorce.
It’s crucial that you feel comfortable with your attorney, and that you feel like you are being adequately represented.
If you’re NOT confident in your attorney’s abilities or happy with your representation, you absolutely have a right to seek counsel with another attorney or firm. However, if you’re thinking about changing attorneys, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Depending on your current case or situation, switching representation in the middle of your divorce could slow things down and change the overall timeline of your proceedings. It could also take time for your new attorney to get up to speed on all of the information for your case.
This leads us to another (very important!) result of finding a new attorney – cost.
Once you switch to a different attorney or firm, the review of all of your case information can equate into more hours to be billed to your case.
So, due to time and cost constraints, it may be beneficial to bring your concerns to your attorney’s attention directly first. For example, maybe you’re having issues with communication or return phone calls. It may be something unrelated to your attorney’s ability to represent your case, like an office issue, and they may not even be aware of it.
However, if your concerns aren’t simply a matter of communication or small problems, you have every right to fire your attorney.
In California, there are certain steps to request a new attorney yourself:
- Fill out the Substitution of Attorney-Civil (Form MC-050). Sign this form and have the lawyer that you are firing AND the new lawyer you are hiring sign it too. Then, make a copy for each side in the case, including yourself.
- Have someone 18 or older, NOT you, mail the other parties a copy of the Substitution of Attorney-Civil. Make sure the person who does this for you, the “server,” does NOT mail the original. The original is for the court.
- Have the server fill out and sign the second page of the Substitution of Attorney-Civil (Form MC-050). This is the Proof of Service, telling the court you served all the other parties with the Substitution of Attorney. Make sure the server writes the names and addresses of all parties involved in the case.
- File the ORIGINAL of Form MC-050 (with the Proof of Service on page 2 filled out and signed) with the court. Take your copy to the courthouse as well and make sure it is stamped “Filed.”
If you’re changing lawyers and simultaneously substituting out your attorney for a new one, your new lawyer will usually fill out and file the Substitution of Attorney form with the court on their end.
Going through a big life change like divorce is a challenging time, you deserve to have an attorney on your side that’s actively working for you, and for the best outcome for you and your family.
If you’re looking for an attorney who’s experienced in divorce proceedings and providing the representation you need, give our firm a call today!