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I received a Notice of Unavailability of Counsel. So, what? Do I care if my ex-wife's attorney can't make it to the court date?

Vancouver, WA |

I had filed everything for an Objection to Relocation and had a court date set up for June 28 but I just received a notice of unavailability of counsel from my ex-wife's attorney saying he isn't available that day? Who is responsible for rescheduling the court date?

Attorney Answers 3


The Court will likely care and it makes you look bad if you don't try to show consideration. I suggest you find out available court dates, compare it to your own schedule and then send a letter to the other side giving a few options. If he/she responds you would be responsible for the "re-note" to the new date. If there is no response you would confirm your current date and tell and show the court what you did. Remember that courtesy is a two way street and that you might want to request rescheduling yourself in the future. As this is more a question of courtesy and civility than legal I am not discussing legal ramifications of anything here. However, if you have the option, pro se representation in family law is generally not a good idea...this is very "personal" litigation and it helps to have a professional buffer.

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I agree with the prior attorney completely: You should do youself a favor and seriously consider hiring an attorney to represent you in court. You are going to be dealing with complex and difficult things that you may be overwhelmed with. The experience that comes with an attorney is invaluable when you need to step back and make a call based on logic and not emotion. WA has a good and robust lawyer referral service and the Vancouver area has quite a few attorneys who can help. You are also close enough to the Portland Metro area where you can find attorneys who are licensed in both WA and OR that may help you.

In regards to your question, you may want to remember that you are doing something pro-se and the other side is an attorney. Attorneys may seem like sharks to some people but we often engage in a civil dance that has a give and take element to it. For whatever reason, the attorney is unable to make it to that specific court date and is attempting to work out another day that would be more opportune. You shouldn't view it as "tough luck" but rather an opportunity to build a level of rapport with this person. You will find it easier to work with someone if you have developed a sense of fairness and cooperation, something that will be developed if you put forth a list of dates that works with your schedule. You would best contact the court to find out what days and times are open and then draft a memo to the opposing lawyer and spelling out which work for you. If he responds with a date that works, you have your day in court. If he blows you off, well, you can always contact the court and let them know what you have done and back it up with the copy of your letter. Do not play hardball when you do not have to, so early in the process.

This answer is provided as a general opinion to a question posted on an internet forum. This does not create in either party the expectation that an attorney-client relationship has been entered into between the original poster and the Law Office of Reid Seino, LLC. Any information provided should not be solely taken as legal advice but in the context of general information. Please seek legal representation for any specific legal questions.

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In Wa. state, a Notice of Unavailability is nothing more the a courtesy. However, if you know he is not going to be available, you should reschedule the hearing after getting confirmation from him that your ex will take no action during his absence.

Please note that THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE and are for informational purposes only. This response is not intended to create any attorney-client relationship and is only based on the limited facts given. The response might change should additional facts be learned and should not be relied on as legal advice. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney who can properly assess the situation, as well as all pertinent facts, prior to taking any action based on the foregoing statements

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1 comment

John Robert Bonin

John Robert Bonin


Excellent additional point from Mr. Hawkins. At least articulating that you have asked and expect the other side to take no action during the lawyer's absence would be a good idea.

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