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During my collaborative divorce, I am unhappy with my attorney. Can I change counsel and keep the process?

Chicago, IL |

I am not prepared for any team meetings. I do not feel my attorney works well with me.
Can I change midway through? If so, what are the ramifications? At this point
I am not sure what he is doing for me, except continuously stating he is neutral. I am not
prepared, while my ex husband appears prepped for all meetings. help

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

You can always change attorneys. If you hire an experienced attorney, s/he should be able to come in without too much disruption t your case. Find a lawyer in whom you have more confidence. Make sure your new lawyer is trained in collaborative divorce or if you are also unhappy with the collaborative process, you can insist that your case proceed in the more traditional manner. Many attorneys are not fond of the collaborative process except in very distinct circumstances.

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Asker

Posted

My attorney is always "neutral". therefore I am not made aware of any type of strategy or what would be in my best interest. he seems like merely a meeting holder who charges an arm and leg. when I ask him questions he is defensive and not helpful. I am also being bullied by my ex husband who has a very good attorney who appears to keep him in the loop. I had to have the financial neutral explain that the next big meerting would be a waste of time unless I had a definante idea on housing, which I do not. if I would just with my attorney I would be milked for all these meetings wehre we spin our wheels.

Judy A. Goldstein

Judy A. Goldstein

Posted

Your does not sound like an appropriate case for a collaborative divorce. Perhaps a consultation with one or more family practitioners for a second opinion might be helpful to you. You are always free to change lawyers.

Barry Cahn Boykin

Barry Cahn Boykin

Posted

I'm just seeing your comment. It's unfortunate that your attorney is not more helpful to the process and if your husband is using the process to gain unfair advantage, it is not really "collaborative"

Barry Cahn Boykin

Barry Cahn Boykin

Posted

Rather than meet with your lawyer, send him a letter! Then the 15 minute charge for reading a letter will cost less than an hour meeting. Be open and honest about your goals and expectations (but keep it brief). Ask him to respond in writing, hopefully that will be brief and to the point as well.

Michael R. Stetler

Michael R. Stetler

Posted

Your lawyer is not a neutral in the process, even in a collaborative process, as far as I know. I agree with the other attorneys that if you feel like you are being bullied, then the collaborative process is not working.

Judy A. Goldstein

Judy A. Goldstein

Posted

I was trained in collaborative law about 10 years ago. It has value in only limited circumstances where the parties are on equal emotional basis and do not wish their private information litigated. It can also become expensive when delegating out various aspects of the work to additional, often double sets of professionals. I have seen cases where one party pushes the other into collaboration. This is not the purpose of a collaborative divorce and no attorney is supposed to refrain from advocating for their client. It is a difficult concept for litigators to wrap their minds around and takes a complete change of attitude. Unless trained, I really don't see how an attorney can simply change hats and work in the collaborative process.

Posted

Atty. Goldstein has given an excellent answer. I only add that it would be wise to meet with your current attorney and explain your feelings. A collaborative process is an effort to achieve a win win outcome.
All parties should be working together toward that result with hopefully no hidden agenda or unfair advantage.

The information provided here should not be construed to be formal legal advice. The provision of this general advice does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Persons with legal questions are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

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Posted

I read the comments to Judy's answer and had to chuckle (no offense): you say you're being bullied in a collaborative process. There's nothing funny about the bullying, and nothing funny about divorce -- you're probably looking at some of the biggest decision you'll make in your life. I think you'll agree, however, that the irony of a bullying collaborator is pretty significant.

You can always (ALWAYS) change attorneys.

Judy's right: your case really isn't cut out for to collaborative process -- that, or it's being handled very, very poorly.

Talk with a few attorneys by phone. Most offer free consultations.
Wes Cowell
312-987-9999

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Judy A. Goldstein

Judy A. Goldstein

Posted

Please see my last comment above.

Posted

I am not a big believer in collaborative divorce. It can be used successfully in very few cases with multiple issues that are all very interrelated. I suggest you consider hiring new counsel .

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Judy A. Goldstein

Judy A. Goldstein

Posted

Agreed. Also, based upon the description it seems that the asker's attorney may not be trained in the collaborative process.

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