Content: As you navigate your relationship with your attorney, watch out for these red flags:
1) Your attorney does not return calls or reply to emails. In divorce, some things need to move quickly, so it is a major problem if your attorney is not responding in a timely fashion. Some attorneys do not respond for a week or two, and sometimes they never respond! Other attorneys check their emails several times a day and respond promptly. You are paying them a lot of money, so you should be able to get in touch with them.
2) Your attorney lacks expertise in an area that is critical to your case. There are certain issues in divorce that need an expert to negotiate. It could be a complicated custody issue, a business, a narcissistic spouse, or hidden assets. Perhaps you are in the military, so you have specialized issues. Ideally, you will check that the attorney has the expertise you need before you hire them .
However, if your attorney does not have that expertise, you can hire other experts to work on your team . You can get their help with a particular issue on an ad hoc basis. It is impossible for attorneys to be equipped for every situation, so if you encounter something that is out of the norm, your attorney should be willing to work with other experts.
3) Your attorney wants you to focus on smaller items. Some attorneys get greedy. They are people too, and they have wants and needs like everyone else. If they can get you and your ex to fight about small issues, their fees can add up, which helps them pay for their vacation home or new car.
4) Your attorney does not know your case well enough. Some big-name attorneys have very impressive credentials and reputations, but they take on so many clients that it is nearly impossible for you to get personalized attention. You do not want to be at a firm where you are just another number. Rather, you want them to know the details of your case. That way, you will not have to remind them of your situation every time you talk to them.
You want an attorney who makes you feel as if you are their top priority. If you do not feel like that, it might be time to look elsewhere.
Final Thoughts At the end of the day, changing attorneys is a last resort. It is really expensive, and you are going to be starting over with a new person. There is a lot of risk involved. It is not always financially or logistically feasible to start over. And sometimes, it is better to hire an expert if you are dealing with a particular issue. However, it is occasionally necessary to successfully make it through the divorce process.
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