My Divorce Lawyer Is Not Fighting for Me: What Should I Do?
Going through a divorce can be an extremely difficult and emotional time. You put your trust in a divorce attorney to handle your case and look out for your best interests.
But if you start to understand that your lawyer is not fighting hard enough for you, it can leave you feeling frustrated, anxious, and unsure of what to do next.
If you feel your Minnesota divorce lawyer is not providing adequate representation or advocating strongly enough on your behalf, you may need to consider finding a new attorney.
But how do you know if it’s really time to fire your lawyer? And what steps should you take if you do decide to switch to new legal representation during your divorce?
Here’s everything you need to know.
Signs Your Divorce Lawyer Is Not Fighting Hard Enough
Dealing with an attorney who is not fighting passionately for you can significantly impact your divorce case.
Here are some warning signs that your lawyer may not be putting in enough effort:
- They seem disinterested in your concerns. A good divorce lawyer should listen attentively and address all of your worries and questions thoroughly. If your attorney appears bored, distracted or brushes you off, this could be a red flag.
- Lack of communication. Your lawyer should keep you updated on the status of your case through phone calls, emails, or meetings. If your attorney goes long stretches without contacting you or returning your messages, they likely are not making your divorce case a priority.
- Missed deadlines. An engaged, competent divorce lawyer will stay on top of important court dates, paperwork deadlines, and other timeline requirements in your case. If your family law attorney is frequently late submitting documents or asking for deadline extensions, this clearly shows they are not adequately managing your case.
- No clear strategy. A dedicated lawyer will explain their game plan for handling your divorce early on and walk you through what to expect. It may be time to reevaluate if you are unsure of your attorney’s strategy or feel they are not working proactively toward a resolution.
Lack of preparation. Thorough lawyers will invest substantial time preparing for hearings, settlement conferences, trials, and other events in your divorce case. If your attorney seems underprepared or caught off guard in court, they likely are not putting in the necessary groundwork.
- Unreasonable delays. Most divorce cases can be settled in under a year with an attorney actively driving the process forward. If your case is excessively dragging on with no real progress due to your lawyer’s inaction, this is a major red flag.
If you recognize your divorce attorney is falling short in their responsibilities, you may need to fire them and hire new representation to get the legal advocacy you deserve. Trust your gut instinct. If you sincerely believe finding new representation is necessary to get the divorce settlement you deserve, it is likely in your best interest to fire your current lawyer.
How to Address Concerns with Your Current Divorce Lawyer
Before taking any action, you should first directly communicate your concerns to your lawyer to give them a chance to explain and address the issues.
Schedule a meeting to discuss your frustrations and be clear about exactly what you feel is lacking in their representation. Come prepared with specific examples of things your lawyer has failed to do, missed deadlines, lack of communication, etc.
Present your concerns in a calm, non-accusatory manner. Yelling, venting anger, and threatening to leave will not motivate an attorney to fight harder for you.
Listen to their perspective on your case and their strategy to achieve your goals. If they can provide reasonable explanations for their actions, it may put your mind at ease.
If at the end of the conversation, you still feel your lawyer is not the right fit, convey that you are seriously considering finding new representation. Their response will help guide your decision of whether the attorney-client relationship is salvageable.
Finding the Right Divorce Attorney
Firing your current divorce lawyer is just the first step. You still need to hire a new attorney with the skill and tenacity to fight for your goals.
Here are some tips for finding the best lawyer for your divorce case:
- Ask people you trust for referrals. Talk to friends, family members, coworkers, or anyone else who has gone through a divorce about lawyers they would recommend. Satisfied clients are a lawyer’s best advertisement.
- Research options online. Look at sites like Avvo and Martindale-Hubbell to read reviews of local divorce attorneys from past clients. Focus on lawyers with consistently positive feedback.
- Schedule consultations. Meet with a few potential divorce lawyers in person to get a feel for them and ask lots of questions. Pay attention to their communication style, skills, and overall diligence.
- Consider boutique family law firms. Look for firms that have a background in divorce and family law rather than general practice attorneys. These niche firms often have greater focus and experience with divorce cases.
- Examine their credentials. Opt for an attorney who is board certified in family law and check that they are licensed and in good standing with no history of disciplinary issues.
- Understand their fees. Get fee estimates from any lawyers you are considering. Balance costs with their level of experience and track record of success.
Taking the time to vet and select your new divorce lawyer carefully is crucial. You want someone who is responsive, experienced, and who truly cares about getting you the best possible outcome in your divorce case.
Making a Smooth Transition to a New Lawyer
If you decide to change divorce lawyers mid-case, properly executing the lawyer transition protects your interests while minimizing case delays.
First, review your current lawyer’s retainer to understand termination terms, then provide formal written notice you are dismissing them and hiring new counsel. Request they transfer full copies of your client file to the new attorney.
Be aware of court procedures needing notification of the lawyer substitution. Lastly, meet personally to collect personal items, get the opponent’s counsel’s contact details, and request your case summary.
Take Control: Contact Martine Law for a Strategy Session
Divorcing your spouse is difficult enough without having to wonder if your lawyer has your back. You deserve an attorney who is fully engaged in fighting for the most favorable settlement or trial verdict possible.
If your gut tells you your current lawyer just isn’t putting in the effort needed, don’t second guess yourself. Be proactive in finding the right Minneapolis divorce lawyer for your situation—one who will be a fierce advocate every step of the way.
The Minnesota divorce attorneys at Martine Law are here to provide the dedicated representation you deserve during this challenging time. To schedule a strategy session and learn how our team can fight for you, contact us today.