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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 19639
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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We currently have an open family court case in Grand Rapids

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We currently have an open family court case in Grand Rapids family court. Our children were taken from our home in September of 2011. We each have a court appointed attorneys and after more than a year, we are dissatisfied with the service we have been provided. As the father of three beautiful girls, I am the center of the this case. I have a mental illness and have been receiving treatment and medication in order to live with my illness. I have done everything that the agency has asked me to do, yet they still will not return my children to our home. I was incarcerated for 6 months from March until August of this year, where I could not complete any services, however, I hit the ground running and have been VERY active in participating in all of the required services. Our next court date is 1/31/13 and by that time, I will be completely finished with all of the services offered to me. Out of at least 30+ visits we have had with our girls, there has been only one visit, where I was asked to correct/reprimand my daughter (age 15) for her behavior in high school and at the foster home. While I was speaking with my daughter concerning the issues I was asked to cover, my daughter brought up the subject of why she was in foster care. I have been told over and over by the agency, my attorneys, and the judge in the case that I cannot discuss this with them during a visit with no exceptions. I reacted too strongly and made some negative comments to my daughter. Since then, I have apologized to my daughter for my words and all visits since then, have been wonderful. Before this visit on 10/2, the agency was recommending reunification. A week and a few days after that visit, our case worker notified us that they were changing their recommendation to guardianship and not reunification because of that one visit. At our last court hearing, my attorney and my wife's attorney, met with the judge and my girl's attorney and decided without our consent that guardianship was our only option. Because of this "behind our back" meeting before the hearing, we felt like we had no choice but to agree, or have our rights terminated. My current court appointed attorney has not returned any phone calls or emails that I have sent to him. Can I fire my attorney and get a new one? My attorney no longer seems interested in helping me get my children back home. He seems to be now working with my children's attorney to put our children in guardianship. As hard as we have worked and done everything that they have asked us to do, I don't think this is right. What can I do?
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Question
: We currently have an open family court case in Grand Rapids family court. Our children were taken from our home in September of 2011. We each have a court appointed attorneys and after more than a year, we are dissatisfied with the service we have been provided. As the father of three beautiful girls, I am the center of the this case. I have a mental illness and have been receiving treatment and medication in order to live with my illness. I have done everything that the agency has asked me to do, yet they still will not return my children to our home. I was incarcerated for 6 months from March until August of this year, where I could not complete any services, however, I hit the ground running and have been VERY active in participating in all of the required services. Our next court date is 1/31/13 and by that time, I will be completely finished with all of the services offered to me. Out of at least 30+ visits we have had with our girls, there has been only one visit, where I was asked to correct/reprimand my daughter (age 15) for her behavior in high school and at the foster home. While I was speaking with my daughter concerning the issues I was asked to cover, my daughter brought up the subject of why she was in foster care. I have been told over and over by the agency, my attorneys, and the judge in the case that I cannot discuss this with them during a visit with no exceptions. I reacted too strongly and made some negative comments to my daughter. Since then, I have apologized to my daughter for my words and all visits since then, have been wonderful. Before this visit on 10/2, the agency was recommending reunification. A week and a few days after that visit, our case worker notified us that they were changing their recommendation to guardianship and not reunification because of that one visit. At our last court hearing, my attorney and my wife's attorney, met with the judge and my girl's attorney and decided without our consent that guardianship was our only option. Because of this "behind our back" meeting before the hearing, we felt like we had no choice but to agree, or have our rights terminated. My current court appointed attorney has not returned any phone calls or emails that I have sent to him. Can I fire my attorney and get a new one? My attorney no longer seems interested in helping me get my children back home. He seems to be now working with my children's attorney to put our children in guardianship. As hard as we have worked and done everything that they have asked us to do, I don't think this is right. What can I do?



Response: I am sorry to hear that your Attorney is no longer interested in your case and now may be working against you, which in of itself if true is unethical and should be brought to the attention of the Court. If your Attorney is no longer working for you, then you need to get another Attorney to advocate for you. However, if you have a court-appointed Attorney, you must ask the Court to appoint another Attorney for you and tell the Court your reason for the request, just like you did in your post here. You cannot just fire the Attorney. You must go through the Court to get change of Attorneys.
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