Divorces are complicated and emotional experiences. It is extremely important that you have a lawyer that fits well with you. This means that you need to be able to trust your lawyer. Trust means more than just paying them. You need to feel like you can tell them the truth about hard subjects and that they will continue to fight for your rights. Finding a lawyer you feel comfortable with can be difficult, but what do you do if in the middle of your divorce you no longer have that level of comfort?
Try To Fix The Problem First
The attorney/client relationship is a relationship just like every other. It requires work on both sides and clear communication. If you are having a problem you should not just fire your lawyer and move on. You hired them for a reason. Try talking to them openly and honestly first. This advice applies to crumbling marriages also, but the difference is that as long as you polite with your issues with your lawyer he or she should not be emotional and it should not turn into an argument unlike your spouse.
If you tell your lawyer what your problems are they may be able to correct them. They may not realize that there is an issue or there may have been a miscommunication somewhere along the line.
Issues With Your Bill
You should be getting regular statements from your attorney showing what they have done and what they have charged you. If you feel like there has been an error on your bill contact your attorney or their staff immediately. Be polite but clear that you have a problem with the bill and that you do not want to be charged to fix that bill. Keep in mind that mistakes happen and everyone is fallible when talking to your attorney’s office. Usually if a mistake has happened and you politely point it out your attorney should be more than willing to fix the problem and won’t charge you for it.
If the problem is that you feel like your attorney is over billing you then you need to call and set an appointment to discuss it. Make sure that they understand that you are coming in to discuss your bill and that you do not want to be billed for talking about your bill. Again be polite but firm. Tell your lawyer what your concerns are and then listen to their response. Keep in mind that you could be wrong. There could be a very good reason why you are being billed what you are, but if after listening you still feel like you are being over billed ask the lawyer to fix the problem and for suggestions on ways to keep this from happening in the future.
If you have a problem with your lawyer and you have not been able to solve it do not wait to replace them. The closer you get to a final hearing the less well prepared your new lawyer will be and the worse your outcome will be. If you need to move on first try to fix the problem but then move if it doesn’t get better.
How To Say Goodbye
Your lawyer works for you. That means you can fire them. That does not mean you can be Donald Trump and be rude to them on the way out. Remember that even if you don’t like how they worked on your case they are still a member of a small legal community and if you treat them poorly on the way out you may get a reputation for being unpleasant to work for.
In the politest way possible tell your lawyer that you are moving on. Tell them why if you can and who will be replacing them. This should all be done in writing. Email is acceptable.
Your new lawyer should prepare documents to substitute in and replace your old lawyer. Specifically there should be a motion to substitute or a combination of a motion to withdraw and a notice of appearance. The judge and lawyer for the other side should sign off on these documents to make things official.