Even if your divorce is amicable, it can still be very stressful. Throughout your divorce, it’s essential to have a divorce attorney that you can trust and depend on to represent your interests throughout the divorce process. Unfortunately, some divorce attorneys don’t live up to this standard.
While a good attorney can make the process easier, the wrong divorce attorney can make things more stressful. That’s why, even though it can be costly, many people change attorneys during their divorce. Selecting the right divorce attorney is crucial to not only the outcome of your case but can also affect the cost, length of time, and stress involved in your divorce proceedings.
If you’re midway through your divorce and decide to fire your attorney, you may need to get permission from the court first. Knowing what to watch for before your case makes it to court can help eliminate that. Here are ten warning signs that you may have hired the wrong divorce attorney.
1. Disciplinary History
Although you should take this step prior to hiring your attorney, one way to tell if your instincts are correct is to perform an attorney search on the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility website.
When you enter the attorney’s name in the search tool, it will return results showing whether or not the attorney is in good standing with the Bar. It shows if they have kept up with their continuing education and any disciplinary actions taken against them.
2. Lacks Communication
Adequate communication is essential in any client-attorney relationship. While missing a phone call or two is acceptable, if they fail to return your call, that’s a problem. And if you cannot get in contact with your attorney, that is a major hindrance to the process.
It’s also common for people to think they want a particular outcome in their divorce, only to change their minds during the process. If your attorney is constantly unavailable, they won’t be able to adjust their strategy accordingly.
3. Fails to Keep You Updated
Keeping their clients updated on the progress of their cases is a significant responsibility of any divorce attorney. Upon your request, your attorney should provide you with copies of any documents they have prepared. They should also communicate with you as any updates come in about your case.
While they may not be able to contact you immediately, if a reasonable amount of time has passed, or if you haven’t heard from your attorney when you know that progress is being made in your case, that could indicate that the attorney isn’t doing their job.
4. Unfamiliar with the Divorce Process
Attorneys have specific areas of law that they focus on. If your attorney doesn’t understand the divorce process, they probably aren’t qualified to handle your case. They could also be unfamiliar with the local court system, resulting in your case taking longer than necessary or being dismissed because your attorney didn’t meet the court’s requirements.
Finding a different attorney should be a priority if they ask you to lie to the judge or opposing counsel. It is an ethical violation to lie in court and can result in a suspension for the attorney.
It’s likely that if your attorney is lying now, they’ve lied before. And by continuing to work with this type of attorney, you risk your case being delayed or adversely affected if their dishonesty catches up with them during your case. Also, it’s safe to assume that if your attorney lies to others, they will likely lie to you as well.
6. Doesn’t Consider Your Thoughts
You hire a divorce attorney to provide legal advice and representation during your divorce. They are there to advise you on possible outcomes and create a strategy for achieving a specific result. Sometimes, this may conflict with your beliefs or what you’ve heard.
Remember, the decisions in your case are ultimately yours. You know what’s best for you and your family, and while you have hired your divorce attorney to guide you through the process, they should never ignore you or your input, and they should never pressure you into agreeing to anything.
No one remembers everything, divorce attorneys included, so if they don’t remember the names of all of your children, that’s one thing. But if they can’t remember anything about your case, that’s a problem. Your divorce attorney should be able to recall at least the basics about your divorce.
8. Missing Deadlines
A divorce attorney missing deadlines is unacceptable. Missing deadlines or important hearings in your case could result in devastating consequences and even equate to malpractice.
9. Always Late
Another warning sign is if your divorce attorney is constantly late to meetings and court hearings. You shouldn’t have to wait hours past the allotted time.
10. Unclear Fee Structure
Divorce can be expensive, and most clients have a budget to stay within. A good divorce attorney will make their fees clear from the start.
In the case of a divorce, this fee is typically an hourly rate, but the attorney should make it clear who will be responsible for paying court fees and any administrative expenses. Failing to do so could lead to conflict in the future.
Let Attorney Hunter Fowler Advocate for You During Your Divorce
Before you fire your divorce attorney, it’s important to ensure you are taking this action for a good reason. Firing a good attorney for the wrong reasons could cost you in more ways than one. Divorce can be very emotional, so make sure you take time to step back and ensure you are making this decision based on facts, not emotions.
To Attorney Hunter Fowler, you’re more than just a name and a number. Hunter is a Murfreesboro attorney who listens to and cares about his clients. He will use his legal expertise, extensive knowledge of the law, and connections to ensure that you are set up for success after the conclusion of your case.
If you’re ready to work with an attorney who listens, contact Attorney Hunter Fowler today.