Divorce can be an emotionally charged and complex process, often necessitating the assistance of a skilled divorce attorney. When you’re in the midst of a divorce, the last thing you expect is for your lawyer to withdraw from your case. It’s natural to wonder: Does it look bad if your lawyer withdraws from your divorce case in Illinois?
Related article: Why Would A Judge Dismiss A Divorce Case In Illinois?
It is important to understand that lawyer withdrawal is not automatically indicative of any fault on your part or the merits of your case. Lawyer withdrawal can occur for various reasons such as:
- Conflicts of interest
- Ethical concerns
- Personal circumstances
- Irreconcilable Differences
- Non-Payment of Fees
Some clients have been concerned about whether their prior attorney can or will say something negative about them that could hurt their case. Rest assured, attorneys are bound by the rules of ethics to keep communications with clients confidential. This is referred to as the “attorney-client priviledge,” and most lawyers wouldn’t want to risk a potential ethics violation so they are incentivised to refrain from saying anything negative about you. Even if the other party issues a subpoena demanding testimony from your prior attorney, the attorney-client priviledge would likely be a valid defense. Read this article for more information on “Who Can be Subpoenaed in a Divorce Case in Illinois?“
WHY A LAWYER WOULD WITHDRAWAL FROM A DIVORCE CASE
According to Illinois Supreme Court Article VIII Rule 1.16, a lawyer may withdraw from representing a client if withdrawal can be accomplished without material adverse effect on the interests of the client, and if there are legitamate legal reasons to withdraw. There can be several reasons why an attorney would withdrawal in Illinois, including but not limited to:
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
Conflicts of interest occur when a lawyer’s professional obligations or personal relationships might compromise their ability to provide unbiased representation. This can arise when a lawyer has a relationship with the opposing party, a close connection to a witness, or an interest in the outcome that conflicts with their duty to advocate for their client’s best interests. To maintain professional integrity, lawyers must withdraw from a case when conflicts of interest arise to ensure fair and impartial representation.
Some of our clients have asked, “Can a Lawyer Represent Both Parties in a Divorce in Illinois?”. In Illinois, a lawyer cannot represent both parties in a divorce. Representing both parties in a divorce would create an inherent conflict of interest, as each party has opposing goals and interests in the proceedings.
Lawyers are bound by a strict code of ethics that governs their professional conduct. If an attorney becomes aware of unethical behavior on the part of their client or encounters situations that could potentially undermine the integrity of the legal process, they may choose to withdraw from the case. Ethical concerns can include fraudulent activities, perjury, or instructions to engage in unethical practices. By withdrawing, lawyers uphold their duty to the legal system and avoid any involvement in questionable actions.
Lawyers, like anyone else, can face personal challenges that may impact their ability to provide effective representation. Personal circumstances such as serious illness, unexpected emergencies, or overwhelming workloads can hinder a lawyer’s capacity to give proper attention and diligence to a divorce case. In such instances, lawyers may opt to withdraw from the case to ensure that clients receive the level of representation they deserve.
Sometimes, an attorney may have fundamental disagreements or conflicts with the client that make it difficult to continue representing them effectively. This could be due to a breakdown in communication, differences in strategy, or a lack of cooperation from the client.
NON-PAYMENT OF FEES:
If a client fails to pay their legal fees as agreed upon or becomes consistently delinquent, an attorney may withdraw from the case. Attorneys have the right to be compensated for their services, and if a client is unable or unwilling to fulfill their financial obligations, the attorney may choose to withdraw. This is one of the most common reasons an attorney withdraws from a divorce case in Illinois. So make sure you timely pay all invoices and additional retainer requests to avoid this scenario.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR LAWYER WITHDRAWS FROM YOUR DIVORCE CASE IN ILLINOIS
Many clients ask us, “What happens when an attorney withdraws from a divorce case in Illinois?” If your lawyer withdraws from your divorce case in Illinois, it is important to take appropriate steps to ensure the continuity of your legal representation and protect your interests. Here are some actions to consider:
- Obtain your case file
- Consult with a new attorney
- Assess the Impact on your case
OBTAIN YOUR CASE FILE
Request a copy of your case file from your withdrawing lawyer. This file contains important documents and information related to your divorce case. Having access to these materials will assist you in transitioning to a new attorney and ensure that vital details are not lost during the process.