Switching lawyers takes time and costs a lot of money, and in family law, it is not unusual for clients to misuse this option. They may go from lawyer to lawyer until they find one that tells them what they want to hear. That doesn’t mean that that lawyer is a better lawyer, it doesn’t change reality, and it doesn’t mean that they’re going to get a better deal. Some people switch lawyers because they don’t understand what they should expect in the first place; they have very unrealistic goals, and when their lawyer doesn’t achieve them, they find another one.
However, any one lawyer, no matter how good he or she is, is not right for everyone. Remember, you are the boss. You need to feel comfortable with the process, the strategy, and the agreement you may ultimately be asked to sign. You do not want to regret decisions you have made. If you are unsure about any part of the process, get a second opinion from another lawyer. (If you are unsure about an agreement you are about to sign, get a second opinion before you sign, not after. If you wait until after it’s signed to change your mind, you have already made a legal commitment, and you can’t get out of it easily without spending a large amount of money to try to correct your mistake, if indeed you can.)
If you decide you do need to change lawyers, be aware it is more strategically advantageous to do so at certain times than at others.
The process of finding the right lawyer can be exhausting, but empowering at the same time. Of course, the real work is yet to come. Once the choice is made, you need to know how to work effectively with your legal counsel to continue your quest for a smart divorce.
Deborah Moskovitch is the creator and facilitator of the Smart Divorce, a consulting service that provides tools and strategies for individuals contemplating or going through divorce. This answer has been excerpted from her book The Smart Divorce(Independent Publishers Group, 2007).
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