Can I Change Divorce Lawyers in the Middle of My Case?

switching attorneys mid case

Category: Child Custody , Divorce , Family Law

We have all seen TV shows and movies where the guy or gal fires their attorney mid-case. This is usually done for dramatic affect to convey the fact that the defendant is losing or that he/she is unstable. But in the real world switching attorneys is something that needs to happen from time to time.

There are many reasons someone would want to switch attorneys. Here are just a few:

  1. Attorney is not compatible with client. Sometimes personalities clash and this can happen in any facet of life including the attorney-client relationship.
  2. Attorney is not getting enough done. For whatever reason it may appear to the client that the attorney is not doing their best, that they may not be putting in their best effort.
  3. Client feels that the attorney is not capable of handling new challenges as they emerge. Cases always develop in a way that is not totally foreseen. An attorney must be able to adapt to new information and new challenges in order to serve their client properly.
  4. Attorney and client have different vision. It may become clear to a client that their attorney sees the case and the goals of the case differently than they do. It is a good idea to discuss this concern with the attorney right away. An attorney and client must be on the same page.

Can I Switch Attorneys?

Just like in those TV courtroom dramas, you too can switch attorneys mid-case. In the state of Florida there is no law prohibiting switching attorneys while a case is under way.

How Does it Work?

If you have decided to seek alternative representation you must inform your attorney about your decision. Your attorney must then file a motion to withdraw. This motion must contain the reason along with the client’s name and address. In general, Florida does not deny these motions. However there are rare circumstances where the motion may be denied. Those are:

  1. The withdraw will prejudice the client.
  2. The withdraw would prejudice the opposing party.
  3. The case is too far along.

What Next?

Your new attorney will file a motion for substitution of counsel. This document must be signed by the client as well as the new attorney.

A professional attorney won’t take it personally if they are let go. Professional attorneys are well aware that some clients and attorneys are bad matches and that it may only become apparent as the case progresses.

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