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My attorney dropped me as a client. I have a custody trial coming up next month and would like to know if I will still have it.

Hemet, CA |

CA Custody Case. Not sure why my attorney dropped me, but I have trial coming up because the father of my daughter wants full custody. We have 50/50 and he's had primary ever since the judge put a no contact order against my bf and my child.

I need to know if I will still have to go to trial since I don't have an attorney to represent me and I don't have the money to get another. If I go have trial, and no attorney, what should I do to get ready? Father has an attorney and lots of evidence, so he says.

I can't afford to retain another attorney. Will I be able to represent myself and question witnesses or do I have to have an attorney to do that? I've called for consults only to be told that I should retain, even though I'm receiving state bennies and an unemployed.

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Attorney answers 3


The answer to your question is "it depends." If you have already asked for a continuance of the trial once before, the judge may not be willing to grant you another continuance.

However, if this is the first request for a continuance, then the judge may grant your request so you can find new counsel. However, I caution you not to show up on the day of trial and ask for the continuance. You must do so beforehand. If you hire a new attorney, that person will likely request a continuance on your behalf so he/she can get up to speed on the case and properly prepare for trial.

Sounds like you may need to choose between staying with your boyfriend and the having your child on a 50-50 basis. If you choose to stay with your boyfriend when the judge already determined he poses some sort of danger to your child (hence, the protective order), then you should seriously consider whether you wish to stay with something that the court has found to be a threat to the health, safety, and welfare of your child. If you choose to stay with your boyfriend, then the judge will rightly question your judgment as a parent--and I would guess that it will create a serious obstacle for your custody case.

If I were you, I'd figure out some way to come up with the money to retain counsel. Your case does not sound like you can do it alone. Good luck to you.

If you found this answer helpful, let me know by clicking the "Mark as Good Answer" button at the bottom of this answer. By answering this question, the Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton does not intend to form an attorney-client relationship with the asking party. The answers posted on this website should not be construed as legal advice. The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton does not make any representations about your family law matter, but rather, seeks to provide general information to the public about family-law related matters. You should consult with an attorney to discuss the specific facts of your case. Thank you.

Hillary Johns

Hillary Johns


Ms. Norton is absolutely right. When you hire a lawyer, and I'd really suggest that you do, they're going to want to know why your previous attorney no longer represents you.


The court could continue the matter since you do not have trial but you should ask for the continuance prior to the date of trial or be ready for trial the day of. You need an attorney to properly prepare you for trial, it is not something that can be explained on this forum. I would contact a local attorney.

Maryam Atighechi is a family law, real estate and civil litigation attorney in Sherman Oaks, CA. 310-498-1057. Please be advised that although Ms. Atighechi is an attorney, the comments posted does not constitute legal advice. You should not rely on any advice or suggestions written and seek outside, independent counsel. An attorney-client relationship has not formed by reading the post.


The trial does not get cancelled just because you do not have an attorney. I suggest asking for a continuance so you can prepare. It is a lot of work to get ready for a trial. You must gather admissible evidence; subpoena witnesses and documents; and take depositions where needed.

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