Can my attorney tell the judge he doesn’t agree with the settlement?
There are rare situations where a lawyer might not agree to sign a settlement that you reach with another party independently. That lawyer could decide to show up in court to speak to the judge about any objections. Lawyers are allowed to do this. Here is what you need to know if your attorney decides to tell the judge that he or she does not agree with the settlement.
You Have a Legal Right to Do What You Want
The first thing to understand is that you have a legal right to do what you want. If you reached a settlement with a spouse or other party, then you have a right to present it to a judge or lawyer. The problem is that judges and lawyers do not always have to accept a settlement. An attorney is bound to represent you but can refuse to do so if you disregard any advice given. You are likely to get the settlement that you reached approved although it will have to be done without your current lawyer.
Letting Your Attorney Go
The most common course of action in this case is to let your lawyer go. You will have to fire the attorney. This has to be done through a written letter. You can send the letter through certified mail or present it to the attorney in person. You must also let the court know. If everything goes well, then your attorney will be relieved of the duty to represent you. It is important to note that firing the attorney might not stop him from showing up in court to speak.
What a Lawyer Might Say In Court
Your attorney is probably going to show up in court to voice a strong opposition to the settlement that you created. This could be for several reasons. The most common is just to have the objection to the settlement on the record. There could be payment issues due to the settlement. Your lawyer might also be genuinely concerned that the settlement is either not legally binding or not in your best interests. Your lawyer does have the right to tell the judge he does not agree with the settlement.
How the Judge Could React
The judge handling your case is going to listen to your attorney’s objections, read the settlement and hear your side of the story. The judge will then review everything. Most judges will simply record the objection and grant the settlement. Some judges might not grant the settlement. This means you will have to negotiate something more acceptable with your spouse or the other parties. A judge might also order that your attorney continue representing you until an acceptable settlement is reached. Releasing a lawyer from a case is the decision of the court.
You could face some legal and financial complications if your lawyer does speak out against your settlement in court. The first is that the lawyer could be forced to continue working with you. That can potentially cost you more money. If the judge will not accept the settlement, then you might have to modify the terms to something less favorable to yourself and the other parties.
Avoiding This Situation
The best way to avoid this situation is through communication. You need to communicate regularly with your attorney about everything that is going on. If you and another party are starting to develop a settlement agreement independently, then let your lawyer know right away. Good communication can allow you to avoid a number of pitfalls during any legal proceedings.