When you are in a rocky relationship, there may come a time when you realize it is in your best interest to break up and move on. Breaking up is hard to do, especially when you are invested in the relationship and the uncertainty of what lies ahead is daunting. In a divorce, this is especially true since all the comforts of your past are no longer the face of your future.
In a divorce, you are mourning the death of your relationship and so the last thing you want to worry about is another difficult relationship…but with your divorce solicitor. If anything, the legal assistance that you seek and require in this difficult circumstance should somewhat ease the burden your divorce.
Unfortunately, that is not always the reality for some individuals who are in difficult solicitor-client relationships. But how do you know you are in a solicitor-client relationship terrible enough to warrant a break-up?
Here are five signs that it might be time to cut-ties with your divorce solicitor and find a better fit for you and your situation:
1. Your solicitor blows you off: If your solicitor does not return your calls or emails within a reasonable time frame, this may be cause for concern. Communication with your solicitor is key in order to move your case forward and to resolution. If he or she refuses to return your calls or answer your questions, it might be time to start looking for alternative representation and find a solicitor who will pay attention to you and your concerns.
2. Your solicitor keeps you in the dark about your case: It is not in your best interests if your solicitor is not keeping you informed of the details of your case. For example, if you are kept in the dark about communications your solicitor is having with your spouse’s solicitor, or you are not privy to documents being prepared or exchanged on your behalf, then it is time to raise the red flag. You have the right to know what is happening in your case, so demand it.
3. Your solicitor makes unilateral decisions without your input or approval: While your solicitor is knowledgeable about the legalities of your case, your input and approval is necessary because the decisions will affect your life. That is why it is important that your solicitor consults with you before any major decisions are made about your case. As such, if you do not understand the terms and concepts of what is occurring, it is imperative that you ask your solicitor to explain the process and what it will mean for you and your family now and in the long-term.
4. You and your solicitor do not see eye-to-eye on strategy: In a divorce, you will be faced with very important choices as to how you want your case to proceed. While there may be moments where you and your solicitor may disagree, there should be agreement on the overall strategy in terms of bringing your case to resolution. If you are inclined to proceed with a mediated divorce and your solicitor is pushing you towards a more aggressive and litigated divorce or vice versa, your current solicitor-client relationship may not necessarily be the best fit. To avoid any surprises, it is best to discuss your vision from the get-go of your relationship.
5. Your solicitor has not prepared for Court: If you get the sense that your solicitor does not know the details of your case and is not prepared for court or has not prepared the barrister to represent you at court, then it may be prudent to start asking your solicitor questions about his or her lack of preparation. You have hired your solicitor to represent your interests and to be your voice. If he or she does not know your case and you are doing much of the legwork, it may be in your best interest to move on to a new solicitor-client relationship.
Remember that in a divorce, you are already dealing with a challenging situation. Your solicitor should not make the process more difficult, but rather assist you in navigating the somewhat overwhelming legal system. Like any healthy relationship, communication is key!