If you are about to go to court for a custody battle, you need an experienced family law attorney who you can trust to advocate for you and help you meet your goals. This is true whether you’re in the middle of a contentious divorce, you want to update an existing arrangement, or you need to seek emergency custody.
But if your current lawyer isn’t providing you with the representation you need, is changing attorneys during a custody battle an option? The short answer is generally yes, you can switch lawyers during a child custody case, though the judge can keep your current lawyer on the case if your custody battle is near completion. However, the more complex question is whether you should. We’re breaking down this question to help you make the right decision for your case and your family.
When You Should Change Attorneys During a Custody Battle
If you have lost confidence in your attorney or you don’t feel they are right to represent your best interests, you have the right to change counsel. Let’s look at some of the signs it’s time to find a new family law attorney to fight for you during your custody case.
- Your attorney is unprofessional or unreliable. They may be late for court, miss appointments, or fail to file documents on time, all of which can compromise the outcome of your case.
- Your attorney fails to communicate with you. Your lawyer should respond to your emails and calls in a timely manner, and you shouldn’t have to chase them down for a meeting. They should also keep you informed of any developments in your case or anything that has changed that could affect the outcome.
- You and your attorney clash. You need a lawyer who understands your goals and will help you achieve them while setting realistic expectations. If you feel they are not fighting on your behalf or they don’t respect your goals in your case, it may be time to change attorneys.
Before you decide to part ways with your current family law attorney, it is important to talk to them about your concerns, if you feel safe doing so. They may not be aware that you need more communication, or they may have misunderstood your original goals and priorities. If your lawyer listens to your concerns and seems committed to addressing them, you may want to keep them on as your attorney. However, if you feel they are not concerned or they won’t change to meet your expectations, it is best that you part ways sooner rather than later.
Factors to Consider When Switching Attorneys During a Custody Battle
While changing attorneys during your custody battle may be for the best, it’s important to recognize the drawbacks of doing so.
May Cause Delays
As paperwork is filed alerting the court to your change in counsel and releasing documents, this can slow the process of your custody case. Also, your new attorney will need to spend time becoming familiar with your case, and this can take time depending on the stage at which your case is.
May Cost Additional Money
You will need to finalize any costs or fees that your current lawyer is owed in accordance with your retainer agreement. This may also require paying their hourly rate and or paying for any expenses they accrued related to your case. Hiring a new attorney means they will spend time becoming familiar with your case as we mentioned above, and this could lead to additional costs.
If you can change attorneys before your case goes to trial, this will reduce delays and costs, so once you do decide that it’s the best option, it’s best to move quickly.
How to Change Attorneys During Your Custody Case
Once you decide to hire a new lawyer for your custody case, you can either contact your current lawyer yourself to notify them or have your new lawyer contact them on your behalf. This way your current lawyer can transfer your file and information to your new lawyer’s office. At the same time, your new family law attorney will prepare and file a document called Substitution of Counsel which lets the court and all associated parties know that you have new legal representation. This form needs to be signed by your new and current lawyer before it’s filed.
Schedule a Consultation with a Family Law Attorney in Raleigh Today
Whether you need a family law attorney to take on your case or you want to switch lawyers in your custody battle, The Doyle Law Group can help. We have a team of experienced, dedicated family law attorneys who will fight to help you achieve the best practical outcomes and meet your goals. Call us at (919) 301-8843 or fill out the form below to learn more.
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