Notice of Withdrawal for a Divorce

By Michael Butler

In a divorce case, you often receive many different court documents filed by the attorneys or the parties. In the United States, a notice of withdrawal is almost always filed by an attorney exiting the case. In a divorce, however, the notice of withdrawal can also be used in a few other instances.

Attorney Withdrawal During Divorce

When an attorney takes a case, she files an entry of appearance with the court. This lets the court and other parties know the attorney represents one of the parties. The attorney is then ethically bound to handle the case until she is given leave by the court to withdraw. If the client fires the attorney, the attorney must withdraw. In some jurisdictions, the attorney does this by filing a notice of withdrawal. If you receive one of these from your attorney, it means the attorney no longer represents you.

Attorney Withdrawal After Divorce

In a divorce with children and property involved, the parties can reopen the divorce case to modify some things years after the divorce is granted. For example, one of the parties can open the case to request a modification of custody or child support. If an attorney is still on file as representing the other party, that attorney is still responsible for the case. Service of the motion can be achieved by sending it to the attorney who then has to find his client. To avoid this, many attorneys routinely file a notice of withdrawal as soon as the divorce is final. The party who wants to reopen the case then has to serve the other party directly.

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Your Responsibilities

If your attorney withdraws from your divorce while it is pending, you should hire another attorney as soon as possible if you still require one. Until another attorney enters her appearance with the court, you are personally responsible for all matters in the case. You are required to meet all deadlines and attend all hearings unless the court grants a continuance. Because you represent yourself, at least temporarily, the other party's attorney can contact you directly to discuss the case. If you are planning on hiring another attorney, inform the other party's attorney of your intention in order to avoid negotiating with the attorney directly.

Other Possibilities

A notice of withdrawal can also occur if the petitioner files notice with the court that he wishes to withdraw his request for a divorce. However, in the United States, this is more commonly done by filing a motion to dismiss. If one of the parties wants to withdraw a specific request of the court, that party can also file a notice of withdrawal in some circumstances. For example, if the petitioner has requested a hearing in front of the court and no longer wants it, he may file a notice of withdrawal of the request before the judge grants the request. This lets the court know that ruling on the hearing request is no longer necessary.

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