change lawyers divorce new jersey

At any time in the midst of a divorce case, you may have reached a juncture at which you desire to obtain a different legal team. Consequently, you may be wondering what you need to do in order to terminate your current lawyer and retain a different lawyer. To change lawyers during a divorce in New Jersey, you must follow several steps. For more information on how to change lawyers during your New Jersey divorce case, please read on, then contact one of our experienced divorce attorneys in Monmouth and Middlesex County. The steps to change representation during your divorce case include:

Consider the timing of your desire to change lawyers

The exact context of your desire to switch lawyers matters. So long as your original lawyer has only just begun representing you and the divorce case has not yet reached court, changing legal representatives does not require court approval. However, you will need approval from the judge if your divorce case has been pending for some time, particularly if the proceedings have reached an important hearing or the trial itself.

Find a replacement divorce lawyer

You need to make sure you have a replacement lawyer in place before dismissing your existing divorce lawyer. You must ensure that your replacement lawyer will meet your needs, goals and objectives. To accomplish this, you must exercise due diligence and research them thoroughly.

Terminate representation of current divorce lawyer

You must formally terminate your initial divorce attorney in writing, so as to dispel any potential confusion about your decision to obtain new legal representation. If you already have new counsel retained, provide your initial lawyer with the name and contact information for that lawyer. This ensures that your new lawyer retrieves your case file.

Motion to substitute counsel

At this point, you may or may not need to file a motion requesting permission to change lawyers. Naturally, your new lawyer will prepare and file the motion to substitute counsel with the court. Additionally, they will send your spouse and/or their attorney a copy of the motion in question. Usually, the court will only require filing a Substitute of Attorney, which both outgoing and incoming counsel must sign. This advises the court and the “other side” of the change.

Obtain the file from your initial divorce lawyer

Legally speaking, your case file is your property. In the event that some issue arises in regard to representations provided, your dismissed lawyer may maintain a copy of the file. With or without your new lawyer, you must obtain your court file promptly.

As it so happens, one of our Monmouth County divorce attorneys can assist you in completing this process, so please do not hesitate to speak with us.


If you require strong legal representation for matters of divorce and family law in Rumson, Monmouth County, or anywhere in New Jersey, contact The Law Offices of Paone, Zaleski & Murphy to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.