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FamilyAttorney, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1508
Experience:  Owner, attorney in private practice, appellate attorney, GAL & former trial lawyer, licensed for 37 years
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Is it detrimental to your divorce case if you change

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Hi Is it detrimental to your divorce case if you change lawyers ?
JA: Because family law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Oregon
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Yes
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I just don't feel like this attorney is helping me. I am going through a high conflict divorce and no one is listening to my side. Spent 5000$ on retainer and he has not done anything for a month

Hello and thanks for using Just Answer. I’m a licensed attorney with 37 years’ extensive experience in family law, trials, appeals, landlord-tenant, and other types of law.

This is general information and not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed, and no attorney-client relationship is formed. This is for educational purposes only.

Also, I’d like to review your question for a minute and type your answer. If I am not here for a few minutes, that means I am typing your answer. THIS IS NOT YOUR ANSWER YET so please allow me time to type it up for you. It may take a few minutes, so please understand that. Thanks!

Customer: replied 3 months ago.

It is absolutely not detrimental to your divorce case if you change lawyers IF your lawyer is not helping you. If nobody is listening to you, then you are not getting the representation you are paying for. If he hasn't done anything in a month, or hasn't contacted you, now we're talking about possible unethical conduct. Your lawyer MUST keep you in the loop and must contact you, and must represent you to the best of his ability.

You are entitled to a lawyer who is going to treat you like you're his only client. That's what I do, and that's what good lawyers do. They will help you and continue assisting you so that you get excellent representation.

You are allowed to fire your lawyer. If the case is in progress, you may need permission of the court to fire your lawyer but your new lawyer will be able to handle this for you.

I can give you information about other lawyers if you want. We aren't allowed to refer to any particular lawyer. However, what I do here, which helps my customers tremendously, is I give you a list of lawyers in your area and I'll show you how easy it is to pick one. I have a short, easy to understand free guide and it will show you what to look for in an attorney. I will also look for LegalAid and pro bono attorneys in your area if you tell me to do that. I just need to know where to look. The bigger the city the better. My customers tell me they have found great lawyers from my information. This part is free of charge -- I do this as a courtesy to my customers here. Just let me know if you want this information.

I can tell from what you're saying that this lawyer is not helping you, and there's no point in having a lawyer who isn't doing what they're supposed to do.

Does this answer your question or would you like additional information?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I would love this information. I need help for Portland Oregon family law.
Also I would do the phone call if I could continue talking to you over a period of time.

Oh -- I'm not asking for the call -- the site is, so you can ignore that if you'd like. :)

That's totally up to you. I'm happy to give you information about lawyers in Portland Oregon.

I'm really sorry you don't have a good attorney. If at some point you want to file a complaint against the lawyer, you can do that, but wait till you have a new lawyer on board.

I'll send you names of family lawyers in Portland and my free guide. IF you want to run any of them by me, I'll be happy to help. I can't tell you if they're any good but I can certainly tell you if you appear to be on the right track.

I'll be right back.

Complaint to Oregon Bar, only if you want to do this at a later point in time. Wait till you get your entire file back and any $ that may not have been used up.

Portland, Oregon Family lawyers: there are 476 family lawyers here!

Here is my free guide:


Here's what to look for and what to avoid.

Avoid: Any red mark next to an attorney's name, such as misconduct. That usually means the lawyer was either disbarred, censured, cited for misconduct, or suspended from the practice of law.

Ignore: Ratings, such as 6.5 or 10, which is the highest. A 6.5 attorney may be even better than a 10. It's difficult to say. The site has its own formula for rating attorneys and many attorneys get a 10 because they belong to bar associations and sometimes give lectures. That does not necessarily mean they're the best when it comes to going to court.

Remember: People who charge the most aren’t necessarily the best! I know people who charged twice as much as I did and I have won cases against them easily in court. Don’t be fooled by price.

What to look for: See what the clients’ reviews state, especially in the field that you're interested in (i.e. family law, wills, custody, guardianship, etc.). That is probably going to be the most important thing. Many people have not been reviewed, but if there are a bunch of them who are, go with the ones who have multiple reviews and whose reviews are outstanding. You don't want someone who is a family lawyer but who has been rated as an excellent criminal lawyer. That won't help you. You want them rated as an excellent family lawyer if that's what you're looking for.

I would also suggest you find someone who has been practicing at least 10 years, the more the better(15-20 is even better). The site will tell you how long they're practicing law. You don't want someone just a few years out of law school to take on your tough case.

Extra suggestion:

I also suggest that you find someone who does primarily family law – if that’s what you’re looking for – or any other type of law you are looking for. For example, if you’re looking for a family lawyer (or any other type of lawyer), the site I am sending you to shows what percentage of the lawyer’s business is family law (or the other type of law you are looking for). If you want a family lawyer, you should find someone who does mostly family law cases – at least 50% -- or exclusively family law cases (100%). I am an appellate attorney who does family law cases, and I do appeals exclusively now. I list myself as doing appeals for 85% of my practice, and I show that the appeals are for family law, custody and child abuse. Someone looking for a family law appellate attorney would know that that’s what I do. So consider the percentage of work they do in the area of law that you want. If it’s 20% or something similar, and they do several types of law, you should find another lawyer. Find someone who spends most of his or her time doing the type of law you want to hire them for.

Take Action: Take a few names and make some phone calls. Ask for a free consultation -- see if you can get one. If you don't feel confident in the lawyer, find another one. That's why it's good to make a list of the ones you want, maybe 5-6 lawyers and you'll find one. It’s okay to walk out of a lawyer’s office and don’t sign anything if you’re not comfortable with the lawyer. You usually want an aggressive lawyer to help you and someone who will return phone calls.

If you can take someone with you to interview the lawyer, that would be a good idea. It’s always good to have another opinion.

You can always fire a lawyer if you're not happy but once the case is underway, you may need court permission to do so, so make sure you like the lawyer!

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Ok the name of the attorney I am going to fire is Alex Sutton and the name of the attorney I am going to call is Samantha Hazel. I am a women with one child divorcing a narcissist

I can check for you and see what is listed about both of them. I'll be right back.

Another narcissist. That seems to be most of my cases. I'm really sorry to hear it. I represent children like a guardian ad litem in my state, so I represent the kids but some of the parents are, well, interesting, let's just put it that way. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. Now, getting a better lawyer will help make this easier. Be right back.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Can I get the retainer fee returned?

Alex has 4 good, solid reviews from clients but only 4. He's only been practicing for 12 years so that's not a lot.

I would say you need to be careful with Sam. She has 14 reviews and 3 of them are 1 star reviews -- the rest are 5 star. I would read these if I were you. There are two pages of reviews. I am sending you to the second page but you can click on the bottom to see all 14 reviews. Some of the reviews are outstanding, but I am concerned about these three.

If your attorney didn't use up all of your retainer, then depending on your retainer agreement, you should be able to get some of the fee returned to you. He also MUST give you your file except for his notes, which is called attorney work product and he can keep that for himself.

Thank you for letting me help you this evening!

Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with. That includes looking for lawyers. I’m happy to do so! I’m here most of the time (usually at night!) so you can always come back and talk to me (no extra charge) after I’m rated. If I’m not here, I will get an email if you leave me a question.

Please accept my answer, and please rate my answer as one of the top three faces/stars (5, 4 or 3 stars, 5 stars would be much appreciated as I ALWAYS strive to give you 5 star service!). This can be found AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you and with your question. I work hard to give you a thorough and honest answer. Please let me know if there is more that I can do to answer your question and if you need more information such as where to find lawyers. If not, I thank you for your rating. I can’t get credit for answering your question without your fair and honest rating. I have given you the benefit of my legal knowledge and 37 years of experience as well as my time.

Feel free to come back here for a follow-up question based on this one.
You're welcome to ask follow-up questions at any time, any day after I'm rated, free of charge.

We are not employees of Just Answer but are independent contractors, so your rating is very important to us so that we can be reimbursed for our work. Thank you! I'd rather be given the chance to add more information than be rated negatively, so I thank you for that.

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Best of luck to you!

I strive for 5 star service every time, so if there's anything else I can do to earn that, I'm happy to do so.

FamilyAttorney and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you

Hi, just checking in to see if you still need help with your question and if my answer was helpful for you or if there is any more information that you need. Thanks!