Hiring the wrong divorce lawyer can be a costly mistake. Getting divorced is an extremely challenging experience for many people as it is. A good lawyer can make the process easier and also greatly reduce your stress. However, if your lawyer’s actions increase your stress level, it may be time for a different lawyer. Everyone makes mistakes, even a lawyer for divorce, but there are some signs you should look for to distinguish a mistake from incompetence or worse.
Here Are Signs You Hired the Wrong Divorce Lawyer
If it is nearly impossible to get in touch with your divorce lawyer, this is a bad sign. Every busy person misses a phone call now and then, but a good lawyer will return your call as soon as possible when this happens. If you cannot contact your divorce attorney, this creates a major barrier to communication. You should be able to reach your attorney if something about your case changes.
Some people begin the divorce process thinking they want a particular outcome and change their mind after reflecting or talking things over with children or other family members. An attorney who is always unavailable cannot adjust their case strategy to meet your changing needs.
Indifferent or Dismissive
If your attorney is dismissive of your thoughts and questions, you may have hired the wrong divorce lawyer. The stakes are high in a divorce, both financially and emotionally. You want the lawyer you hire to zealously represent your interests. You cannot count on someone who doesn’t care about your case to advocate for you to the best of their ability. In addition, if your attorney consistently seems distracted or indifferent to your case, they are more likely to make mistakes because they are not giving the matter the attention it deserves.
Contrary to what you might have heard, you do not have to put up with any type of rudeness just because an attorney is supposedly really good at what they do. There are plenty of incredibly skilled and experienced divorce lawyers who will also treat you with respect and devote their attention to your case.
If your attorney suggests blatantly lying to opposing counsel or to the judge, you should hire a different attorney. Lying in court is an ethical violation and may result in sanctions such as suspension from practicing law. If your attorney wants to lie now, they may have done it before. You do not want your case to be affected or delayed if your attorney’s dishonesty catches up with them while they are representing you. In addition, if your lawyer often lies to other people, it is possible that they would lie to you. Dishonesty is a major red flag indicating that you hired the wrong divorce lawyer.
Missed deadlines are another major red flag. Late filings can sometimes result in your case getting dismissed and your spouse winning a default judgment. The consequences to you if your attorney misses a deadline are too severe for you to tolerate this mistake. A good lawyer should be able to balance their caseload so that none of their clients miss any deadlines.
Erik V. Larson earned his J.D. from Baylor University Law School in Waco, Texas in 1994 and his B.A., magna cum laude from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas in 1991. Mr. Larson’s practice consists primarily of divorce, child custody, and child support cases.