What To Expect When First Meeting With A Family Law Attorney
The beginning stages of a divorce can be a difficult time for those involved, however, knowing you have an experienced and competent attorney who will guide you through the divorce process can help to ease some of the difficulty. Here, the attorneys at Rodier Family Law help prepare you for your initial meeting, typically your Initial Consultation, with your potential family law attorney.
Come Prepared Based on Your Needs and Situation
Typically your first meeting with a family law attorney is for an Initial Consultation. Most attorneys charge a fee for that consultation which may be their hourly rate, a reduced rate or a flat fee (we charge a reasonable flat fee which is lower than our standard hourly rate). A lot of what happens during your first meeting with a family law attorney will depend on personal circumstances and where you currently stand in the divorce process. In some cases, spouses have already agreed to be collaborative or cooperative in their approach. Other times, one spouse or the other may be facing a more urgent situation. Many people often simply seek advice about a potential separation and divorce or child custody matter in anticipation of a possible issue.
Before meeting with your potential family law attorney for the first time, ask what types of documents you will need to bring, if any. These might range from tax returns, banking and investment statements to credit card statements, prenuptial or postnuptial agreements and recent pay stubs for both parties. Typically no documents are required at the Initial Consultation, however you should always bring any court-paperwork (current order/s, any pleadings that you have filed or that have been served on you and require an answer, hearing or trial notices that you have received, etc.) and communications which you may have received from the other party’s attorney, if any.
Be Ready to Discuss Divorce-Related Topics
The purpose of the Initial Consultation is for the potential client to meet and asses whether he or she wants to work with the attorney and for the attorney to determine whether he or she desires to take the individual’s case. The attorney will discuss the facts of your case or situation at length. It is likely that the attorney will also assess technical issues, such as jurisdiction and venue (where the case can be filed if necessary), discuss with you the merits (pros/cons) of the case as well as potential outcomes, and explain how you would retain their services and any retainer or other costs due in order to move forward with him or her as your attorney.
A skilled family law attorney will ask very specific and detailed questions to ensure they understand the full scope of your goals and desires throughout the divorce process. This will also help them to refer you to divorce coaches, estate attorneys or financial planners for specialized advice. If you feel uncomfortable about certain questions, know that even if you do not retain the attorney your conversations are confidential, and if you do retain the attorney the details of your conversations will not be shared with any other party except in very rare and infrequent circumstances which your attorney will explain to you.
Preparing to Meet with an Attorney for an Initial Consultation
Generally, there is no need to prepare anything prior to meeting with a potential attorney. He or she should guide the conversation and the meeting, gathering information and assessing your potential case. One way you might choose to prepare for your consultation is to form a list of questions that you may have. You will have the opportunity to discuss a wide range of relevant topics and will get a better idea of how the attorney operates as you build a relationship. Know that no question is too big—or small—for your family law attorney to address. Feel free to ask about your attorney’s relevant experience, cost of services, the process of gathering financial information or any other topic that you feel is relevant.
The Experienced Attorneys at Rodier Family Law are Here to Help
When facing a family law issue, this may be the first time that you find yourself in need of establishing a professional relationship with an attorney. Even though times might be difficult for you and your loved ones, having an attorney that you trust and feel like you are able to work together with can make the process less trying, less scary and less stressful. The attorneys at Rodier Family Law are concentrated in areas of family law and estate planning and are fully committed to providing candid advice tailored to your unique situation. Contact us today for more information and to request a consultation.