Changing Lawyers During a Florida Divorce
Clients are free to change lawyers during a Florida divorce. In fact, this happens semi-regularly when clients believe that they are not being provided with effective representation. The relationship between a lawyer and client is one that is built on trust. When a lawyer breaks their client’s trust, it can be difficult to repair that relationship and continue working together. Moreover, because the relationship between a lawyer and client is based upon a contract, judges are not in a position to force clients to stay in a contractual relationship against their will. Accordingly, if a client does not believe that they have an effective advocate, they are free to discharge their lawyer and find a replacement.
The relationship between a lawyer and client needs to be a good fit. Divorce involves many sensitive issues that can take an emotional toll on the client. The client must have trust in the lawyer who is advocating for them and the ability to tell them things that they may not want to admit. If a client and their lawyer no longer see eye-to-eye on divorce strategy, or the lawyer is not communicating with the client, fails to show for court appearances, or does any number of things causing the client to lose faith in the lawyer, then changing lawyers would make sense.
The process of changing lawyers during a Florida divorce is fairly straightforward. With the consent of the client, the replaced lawyer can file a notice of withdrawal and the judge will release the lawyer from any further responsibility in the case. When this occurs, the replaced lawyer must return all original paperwork and property to the client and refund any portion of the unused retainer. In situations where fees are owed to the replaced lawyer, that lawyer may secure payment of unpaid fees through a lien on any proceeds that the client may ultimately receive in the case. However, if a client seeks to change lawyers on the eve of or during a trial, a judge may exercise his discretion to deny a request for a change of lawyers. This is because of the inconvenience and prejudices it would cause to opposing counsel and the court. Nevertheless, this can sometimes be remedied if the new lawyer is prepared and ready to step in immediately.
Often it can be difficult to know whether changing lawyers during a Florida divorce is the right move. Clients who are unsure about whether or not to change lawyers are encouraged to get a second opinion. The Bragg Law Firm would never disclose that a client has consulted with them until they are formally retained. If a client ultimately chooses to stay with their current lawyer, no one would know that they had sought a second opinion.
The Bragg Law Firm encourages individuals to educate themselves before deciding whether to change lawyers during a Florida divorce. Changing lawyers before a divorce is finalized is a big decision. Likewise, a client should never choose to stay with a lawyer that they are unhappy without considering all relevant factors. Attorney Adam Bragg can help you understand your options and offer a second opinion in the event that you are considering changing lawyers during a Florida divorce. Contact Bragg Law Firm at (941) 893-1555 to discuss your concerns.