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Tag: notice of appearance

My attorney withdrew as my counsel in my divorce case. What do I do now?

I received a notice from opposing counsel that looks (or contains) something like this:

“You are hereby notified of your responsibility to appear personally or appoint counsel.”

What does this mean? What do I do now?

First, let’s explain to you and to other readers what a withdrawal of counsel is.

“Withdrawal of counsel” means that your attorney no longer represents you, that your attorney does not work for you anymore. Your attorney can “quit” in the middle of a case, and there two common scenarios when they do: 1) when the client cannot pay the attorney’s fees and/or 2) when the attorney and client don’t see eye to eye on how to proceed with the case. As long as no motion is pending or a hearing or trial has not been set, an attorney may withdraw by simply giving his/her client, the opposing attorney or party (if the party is not represented by an attorney), and the court a written “Notice of Withdrawal of Counsel” (a copy of which is filed with the court). If a motion is pending or a hearing or trial has been set, an attorney may not withdraw except upon motion and order of the court. See Utah Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 74.

Rule 74 further provides:

(c) Notice to Appear or Appoint Counsel. If an attorney withdraws other than under subdivision (b), dies, is suspended from the practice of law, is disbarred, or is removed from the case by the court, the opposing party shall serve a Notice to Appear or Appoint Counsel on the unrepresented party, informing the party of the responsibility to appear personally or appoint counsel. A copy of the Notice to Appear or Appoint Counsel must be filed with the court. No further proceedings shall be held in the case until 21 days after filing the Notice to Appear or Appoint Counsel unless the unrepresented party waives the time requirement or unless otherwise ordered by the court.

(d) Substitution of counsel. An attorney may replace the counsel of record by filing and serving a notice of substitution of counsel signed by former counsel, new counsel and the client. Court approval is not required if new counsel certifies in the notice of substitution that counsel will comply with the existing hearing schedule and deadlines.

If your attorney has withdrawn as your counsel and you either can’t find a new attorney or Licensed Paralegal Practitioner (LPP) to take his/her place, or if you choose to represent yourself (which is known as proceeding pro se) from that point, you are required to provide the opposing attorney or party (if the party is not represented by an attorney), and the court with a written “Notice of Personal Appearance OR Notice of Counsel’s or Licensed Paralegal Practitioner’s Appearance” (a copy of which is filed with the court). A form you can use for this purpose has been prepared by the Utah Courts and is available on their website here: Notice of Personal Appearance OR Notice of Counsel’s or Licensed Paralegal Practitioner’s Appearance (utcourts.gov)

This page on the Utah Courts website may also be helpful to you if you are proceeding pro se: Going to Court (utcourts.gov)

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

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