hire a new Oklahoma divorce lawyerA respectful and trusting professional relationship between a divorce lawyer and her client is indispensable for the best outcome, especially when the divorce is overly contentious or involves violent or atrocious behavior.  Although clients usually try to make a good decision in hiring the right family law attorney to help them, it can be hard to get it right with so much competing information available at the click of a button. 

It can be a terrible feeling when you are months into the process of divorce and you get the sinking feeling that this just is not the right attorney for you, or worse, you are afraid this isn’t an ethical and trustworthy attorney at all!  “My lawyer doesn’t listen to anything I say.”  “My attorney won’t return my phone calls.”  “I have been billed thousands of dollars and nothing is filed.  It has been months!” 

Does this sound like your life?  Here’s what you need to know.

Oklahoma Law Does Allow You to Change Lawyers During a Divorce

The good news is that Oklahoma state law permits anyone who wants to fire their lawyer and get another lawyer to do so—even when in the midst of a divorce proceeding!  But it can be tricky to avoid jumping from the frying pan straight into the fire in this situation.  There are important considerations when making the decision to let one attorney go and hire another one. 

When Should You Fire Your Divorce Attorney?

The most important consideration is that you need to feel comfortable with your Rochester Hills trust lawyer and trust that your attorney is representing you zealously and keeping your best interests at the forefront of decision-making throughout the divorce case.  If something negative has happened to change your estimation about your first choice of divorce lawyer, it may be time to look at a better choice. 

The following list provides some situations where it is probably a good idea to look for a new attorney:

  • My attorney does not listen to me. An attorney with less than stellar listening skills who does not seem to not understand what your goals are can lead to a breakdown in case strategy decisions or worse—lead to errors in your case!
  • My attorney never tells me what is going on. The importance of clear and routine communication between you and your attorney about the progress of your case cannot be overstated. You should not feel “out of the loop” or that your attorney is avoiding contact with you on a regular basis.
  • My attorney has time management issues. A lawyer who misses deadlines or constantly asks for extensions of time from the court may be dealing with time management problems.  This is often from being spread too thin over a huge caseload which is common at big firms.
  • We cannot agree on strategy. You and your divorce attorney should be able to meaningfully discuss and agree about what you are trying to accomplish and what you will and will not settle for in order for you to have a satisfactory conclusion to your case.
  • I do not get along with my attorney. Occasionally, it is not something you can even put your finger on, but you and your attorney just do not seem to see eye to eye on anything and it is making things awkward.  You should feel comfortable speaking with your attorney and if you do not feel that way, it may be time to move on.
  • My attorney charges double for after-hours. The specifics about what is charged and how it accrues must be expressly agreed upon prior to commencing the representation.  If your lawyer did not spend time going over this with you and provide their fee agreement to you in writing, then you need to find a new lawyer right away.

Things You Should Consider Before Changing Lawyers

You should make sure that you take certain things into consideration before jumping ship on your current attorney.  Keep in mind that finding the right attorney to replace the one you already have is going to involve a little fact-finding and research on your part, which can take some time. 

You don’t want to rush into a decision and pick the wrong one again.  You will want to make sure you address with the potential new attorney the things that made your last attorney-client relationship go south.  For example, if communication was the problem, you will want to make sure your new attorney communicates in a way that you understand. 

You also need to think about the fact that your new lawyer will need time to get up to speed on your case.  Because it will be the new attorney’s first time looking at your case, it is very much like starting over, except for the documents which have already been filed.  Many clients overlook this and falsely believe that a new attorney automatically knows where to pick up where the last attorney left off in a divorce case.  You will want to ask the new attorney how much time she needs to get caught up.

Sometimes Quitting Your Attorney Can Hurt Your Case

The one time that it is most inadvisable to switch attorneys is when the case is scheduled to go to court and an important hearing is less than 30 days away.  A very close timeframe will very likely not leave your new lawyer enough time to know the case and come up with winning arguments for you. This is a general rule, though, and attorneys differ on what they consider an unacceptable timeframe.  You will need to ask the particular attorney what can be done in your unique circumstances. Contact Diana the Lawyer now to see what your options are.

Ready to Switch Attorneys Now?

If you have already tried to discuss the reasons for your dissatisfaction with your current attorney, but it has made no difference and you remain unhappy with your representation, you can make a change today! Diana the Lawyer is ready to speak with you about your case now.

I'm a South Tulsa family law attorney serving clients in Jenks, Bixby, Broken Arrow, Claremore, Collinsville, Glenpool, Muskogee, Owasso, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, and throughout Oklahoma. Contact Diana the Lawyer online or call 918-605-4826 to schedule a consultation to discuss how to effectively switch lawyers.