6 Signs You Need a New Divorce Lawyer
When you hire a divorce attorney, you expect to receive sound legal guidance and support throughout each step of the divorce process. Unfortunately, not all attorneys provide their clients with the care, service, and respect they deserve.
If you find yourself wondering whether you made a mistake in hiring your attorney, take a moment to consider why things don’t seem to be working out.
Sometimes the divorce process is so complex and stressful that anything associated with it makes you unhappy, including your lawyer. That being said, sometimes the issue is more serious, and the problems you’re noticing might actually be hurting your divorce case.
To find out if you made a mistake when hiring your divorce lawyer, look for the following signs:
1. Lack of Communication
As your case progresses, your lawyer should be communicating with you on a regular basis. You may not be getting calls or emails every day, but there should be some sort of regular communication between you and your attorney and their staff. You should feel comfortable enough to ask your attorney questions and express concerns related to your case. Also, you should understand the strategy for your case and what your legal fees will be (both of these can change depending on circumstances as your case progresses and should also be communicated accordingly). If your attorney dodges questions or regularly gives half-hearted answers, you could be left without valuable information you need.
2. Your Leave Your Attorney’s Office Feeling Worse Than When You Entered
It’s one thing to leave your attorney’s office feeling glum after they’ve had to deliver some bad news, but if you constantly notice a pattern of negativity, you should consider the issue more thoroughly. Your attorney should never belittle you or dismiss your concerns. If they don’t seem to pay attention to your worries, at best, it will make the divorce process more stressful for you. At worst, they may not understand your goals. While it is not your attorney’s job to sugarcoat things, they should be able to respectfully explain your legal situation, listen to your questions, and provide reasoned responses.
3. Missed Deadlines & Unreturned Calls
Your divorce lawyer is responsible for handling each case with efficiency and noticeable attention to detail. However, if you notice that your attorney is not on top of your case, does not return your calls/emails, or misses deadlines and appointments, you should be concerned. No matter how complex or simple your case may be, your attorney should make you a priority and handle your case with every care possible. By failing to meet deadlines and provide clear communication, your attorney is jeopardizing the success of your case.
4. Your Attorney Lacks Knowledge in an Area Critical to Your Case
Not all divorce attorneys specialize in military divorce, high-asset divorce, or other specialized legal areas, but the attorney handling your matter should have a firm grasp on all aspects of your case. If you find that your attorney seems to know little about the laws that apply to your specific situation, you should seek guidance from an attorney who has the experience, skills, and knowledge your case requires.
5. Your Attorney Works Poorly with the Rest of Your Divorce Team
Some individuals hire additional help during the divorce process, such as financial advisors, a mediator, forensic accountants, and other helpful consultants. Your attorney should not feel threatened by this additional help; they should be able to work with your divorce team in a way that helps your case rather than harms it.
6. You Aren’t Comfortable with How Your Divorce is Going
People rarely walk away from a divorce getting everything that they want, but you should still be satisfied with what your divorce lawyer is doing for you. Even if you don’t win every battle, you should feel as if your attorney is fighting for what you want and honoring your concerns and wishes, rather than working purely to finish the case. If you don’t have a good feeling about your divorce attorney’s actions or their overall approach to your legal issue, and they will not work with you to address these concerns, you shouldn’t continue working with them.
If Any of This Sounds Familiar…Next Steps
The first course of action is to speak with your attorney and address the seriousness of your concerns. Be calm and give concrete examples of how your expectations have not been met and what you would like to see moving forward. If the attorney dismisses your concerns without explanation or argues with you, he or she may not be right for you or your case.
The next step would be to consult other attorneys. Research attorneys with experience in your type of case and read client reviews online. If you find an attorney you feel is a better fit, discuss how to proceed in switching your legal representation.
Although it can be somewhat difficult to change attorneys in the middle of a divorce, it could be far worse to stick with an attorney you don’t trust. The family lawyers at McKinley Irvin understand how stressful and frustrating the divorce process can be, which is why we want to help make this time easier for you. If you aren’t happy with your current legal counsel, we are confident that our firm can provide you with the compassionate, skilled divorce representation you need.
Contact McKinley Irvin at our Oregon office to meet with our divorce lawyers.