A common question is, “can I fire my attorney?” And the easy answer is, “yes.”
All parties involved in a case have the absolute right to be represented by an attorney of their choosing so long as they can afford that attorney.
What happens if you’re in the middle of your divorce and you don’t like your attorney for one reason or another? All you have to do is inform that attorney that you no longer are in need of their services.
You can go ahead and go hire yourself a new attorney, or you can move forward in what’s called a pro se approach. If you’re going pro se, that means you’re representing yourself.
Consent To Withdraw
After you tell your attorney that you’re no longer in need of their services, you’ll sign what’s called a consent to withdraw.
Next, that attorney is going to send that consent into the court. Then, the court is going to sign an order that allows that person to get off the case.
If you hire another attorney, the attorneys are going to work together to fill out what’s called a joint substitution of counsel. Then, they’re going to send that into the court. The court will then order that the attorneys are substituted for one another.
Of course, there’s always some financial considerations here. You want to make sure that your attorney is paid in full prior to “firing them” — otherwise, they have some mechanisms they can use such as charging liens. They can file these with the court and stay involved in your case to make sure that they get their fees paid.
At any point, you can fire your attorney — but the earlier, the better. You do not want to be two weeks away from trial, discover that you don’t like your attorney, and then try to hire a new one.
The new attorney is going to have to quote you a very high retainer as they are getting involved in a case where there has been a year plus of litigation that they’re going to have to catch up on. Then they’re also going to have to make sure that all of the evidence is ready to go for trial and that they’re ready to go for trial. This is a lot to ask of anyone, especially attorneys with a lot of cases that they’re handling at any one time. So, the earlier you start having questions as to whether your relationship with your attorney is working out, the better it is for you to try to answer that question. And if you have any real justified concerns in your mind, start looking for new counsel.
Why Attorney-Client Relationships End
Simply put, a lot of attorney-client relationships aren’t viable. It’s just like any relationship in the world, right? People date a whole bunch of people before they get married because a lot of times they aren’t made for each other. And the same can be said with attorneys.
You need to be upfront with attorneys when you’re thinking about hiring them about what you’re looking for. And make sure early on that you’re looking out to see if you got yourself the attorney that you think is right for you.
Need a New Divorce Attorney?
If you have any questions about whether you want to change attorneys and move forward with somebody else, you’re always welcome to call other attorneys and ask them what they think about your case and ask for a consultation.
If you need any help, feel free to reach out to us.
We’re Denmon Pearlman in St. Petersburg, Florida and we represent all of the Tampa Bay areas.
Our number is 813-554-3232.