Changing Lawyers in the Middle of a Family Law Case

Changing attorneys.

Changing Lawyers in the Middle of a Family Law Case

Because family law cases, such as divorces or modifying legal decision-making of children, involve such sensitive topics and heightened emotions, the attorney-client relationship is of the utmost importance. In these cases, clients trust their attorneys to sift through their personal communications and finances to come to the best possible outcome, whether that’s regarding asset division, parenting time schedules, spousal maintenance amounts, child support, or anything else.

In some cases, a client may come to the realization that the family law attorney that have been working with isn’t the best fit for them.  Because family law cases have the potential to be quite lengthy, a family law client may consider finding new representation for their case.

In other cases, there may simply be a lack of cohesion within the partnership. Even the best attorneys may have personality quirks that don’t align with your needs or style of communication.

Reasons a Client May be Unhappy with their Family Law Attorney

The following are all common reasons that a client may want to consider seeking a new attorney:

  • Communication issues. If an attorney fails to return reasonable calls or emails from a client within a timely manner, it may be time to seek an attorney with a more efficient communication style.
  • Unfamiliarity with issues. All attorneys have strengths, weaknesses, and situations with which they have more or less experience. If your attorney is struggling to understand issues such as complicated financials, juvenile matters, or unusual property situations, you may want to seek an attorney that has more experience with your specific situation.
  • Disorganization. If your attorney is regularly making last-minute requests from you, failing to communicate as needed with opposing counsel, repeatedly asking for information you have already sent, or missing court dates or deadlines, you may want to seek a new attorney that can better manage your case.
  • Losing on issues/lack of meeting expectations. If you hired your family law attorney with the goal of obtaining specific outcomes, it can be difficult if you find yourself losing on these issues in court. If you feel these goals could reasonably have been obtained, you may need to seek a more aggressive attorney that is better equipped to get you to where to want to be.
  • Costs. While almost all family law attorneys bill hourly, each attorney sets their own rate. If you feel you have paid too much money to your attorney, or that you’re being billed for work that is getting your case nowhere, you will want to seek new representation.

Benefits of Switching Attorneys

There can be many benefits to switching attorneys in a family law case. These include:

  • Fresh eyes and new perspectives. Especially if you’ve been working with the same attorney for a long period of time, a new attorney can bring a completely fresh perspective to your case. A new attorney may have improved communication with opposing counsel or may bring to the table additional tactics or requests that haven’t yet been brought up in negotiations.
  • Renewed confidence. Changing attorneys after facing difficulties with your current attorney can bring renewed confidence in your case. Positivity breeds better communication and a better outcome for your case.
  • Movement in a stalled case. A new attorney should be energized by your new case and ready to file motions or push issues that can help your stalled case gain new footing.

Drawbacks of Switching Attorneys

Not all cases may benefit from switching attorneys. When consulting with possible new attorneys, be frank about where you are in the proceedings and what you are looking to accomplish. It is important to be aware of potential drawbacks:

  • Fees to Get “Up to Speed.” Family law cases that have been ongoing for a long period of time typically have a great deal of documents for a new attorney to go through. This includes court documents such as notices and motions, as well as disclosure, previous communications, negotiations, and offers between previous counsels. Attorneys will bill you for this catch-up time. The more involved a case is, the more time and money must be spent for the new attorney to familiarize themselves with your case.
  • Timing. If your case is set for trial or a similar hearing in the very near future, a new attorney may not have enough time to sufficiently get up to speed on your case. Unfamiliarity with your case means an attorney will not have sufficient information to represent you adequately in court.
  • Inability to recover your case. Sometimes, your case may have taken a road with your previous attorney that is so far from where you wanted to be that it can be almost impossible to get back on track regardless of your new attorney’s abilities.

How to Decide if Changing Attorneys is Appropriate?

When calling new attorneys, it is important to do your due diligence to make sure your situation will actually improve if you choose to retain a new lawyer. Be honest with them about where you are in your case, the potential reasons why, what your ultimate goals are, and your reasons for looking to make a change in representation.

Don’t be afraid to talk to multiple attorneys about your case, rather than settling on the first new attorney you speak to. You want to select an attorney you feel comfortable with and who can provide you with realistic expectations. Be cautious of attorneys who seem to be making big promises with little information.

You should feel free to ask potential attorneys specific questions about their experience and how that experience will be an asset for your particular case’s needs. Attorneys should also be transparent when it comes to costs. Make sure you know the hourly fee in advance, potential additional costs, and how much time the attorney may need to review your previous documents and disclosure.

Attorneys you consult with should be frank with you regarding what their fees are, their experience with the issues in your case, and what they feel they can do for your case’s next steps.

While Rideout Law Group handles a large number of family law cases from the first step, we also aggressively and successfully represent family law clients who have chosen to substitute us into their cases in place of their previous counsel.


Rideout Law Group handles cases throughout the entire state of Arizona, with offices located in Scottsdale and Lake Havasu City. Our attorneys are experienced in handling family law cases. For a free consultation, call 480-584-3328.


Scroll to Top
This site is registered on as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.