Can I Change Custody Attorneys in the Middle of a Child Custody Battle?
Changing custody attorneys is ultimately your decision or yours and your attorney’s mutually agreed decision at any time in your child custody case. Whether you should do so rests on your reasons for making the change, especially if you are in the midst of a heated child custody dispute.
Before making any decisions, consider the following information about the realities, risks, and potential rewards of an attorney change.
The Realities of Changing Child Custody Attorneys
The court notices parents who frequently change attorneys. Parents sometimes use this as a delay tactic to stall litigation in child custody and other family law cases. Opposing counsel can file a motion for sanctions against such parents, and the court can fine them for interfering with court proceedings.
Parents who frequently change child custody attorneys may also have difficulty retaining in-demand attorneys. Busy, successful child custody attorneys will be wary of taking on a parent’s case upon seeing multiple counsels associated with the matter.
There will be additional costs starting over with a new attorney. These may include a retainer, fees to obtain transcripts, costs to familiarize themselves with your case, and more.
The Risks of Changing Child Custody Attorneys
Take a careful personal inventory. Your attorney is paid to give you the best legal advice and advocacy possible, not to make you feel good and tell you things you want to hear. If they did that, your attorney would not be doing their job effectively.
If your attorney works hard and is effective and consistent, you may want to reconsider a change. This is especially true if they are well-regarded by their peers and former clients. Switching to a child custody attorney who tells you what you want to hear may be a considerable risk.
The Potential Rewards of Changing Child Custody Attorneys
Child custody proceedings can be lengthy. Some take months, while others can continue for years. If your attorney’s hourly fees and billing methods do not fit your budget, you need to take action before your fees become unmanageable.
Ask your attorney about your retainer and keep track of your billing statements. Speak with your attorney about projected expenses to find out if your attorney is the right financial fit for you.
If not, seek out an attorney whose billing style and rates are a better match. It is better to make a change in child custody attorneys than to end up without an attorney.
There are times when an attorney-client relationship is simply unworkable. It may be time to seek new counsel if you and your current attorney cannot interact effectively due to:
- Different styles of communication;
- The attorney’s busy schedule;
- Disagreements about client/attorney responsibilities and expectations; or
- Questions about your attorney’s ethics.
If you suspect illegal or unethical activity by your attorney, seek advice from another attorney right away.
You deserve and will benefit from an attorney with a communication style and schedule that fits you and your custody case. Before retaining your new attorney, be sure to outline your case expectations and shared responsibilities. You and your attorney are a team working towards the same goal.
Contact an Experienced New York Child Custody Attorney Today
For a consultation and review of your child custody case, reach out to a New York child custody professional. At the Law Offices of Vivien I. Stark, our child custody attorney has the experience and resources to manage heated custody battles and can review your custody matter.
Contact the Law Offices of Vivien I. Stark to schedule your confidential consultation today. Attorney Stark can answer any questions and offer you valuable advice about your next best legal steps.