Lawyer Error Delayed Divorce, What are the Options


#1

My friend’s attorney made multiple errors which has resulted in the delay of his divorce which will now result in financial loss currently and potentially in the months to come. What are his options with regard to getting his retainer back from the attorney and can another attorney pick up the case for him without additional delay in filing amended complaint and getting new court date? This is a non-contested divorce with separation agreement in place. The first error occurred when his attorney’s asst sent his wife the wrong notification (they sent her a notification that read ‘change of venue’ instead of “date of divorce hearing”. He found out inadvertently and informed them, so it was delayed 2 weeks. The second mistake came today when his attorney failed to list his children in the divorce complaint eventhough he completed form with that info and she was involved in the drafting of his separation agreement which includes custody. He happened to decide to go to courthouse and found this out because he caught her coming out of the courtroom, his name was not even listed on the docket outside the courtroom eventhough she said it was today and never indicated a problem. Am I mistaken or does this attorney seem completely incompetent? I filed my own divorce and it went through with no issues.


#2

He can always notify the attorney that he wants the balance (if any) of the retainer back and will hire different counsel. However, it is likely that this could delay things further, since a new attorney will need to be hired and brought up to speed on the case. If he feels the attorney’s services were very substandard, he could ask if her office will refund his money. Another option would be contacting the State Bar.