Making the decision to file for divorce is an emotionally-charged and extremely difficult decision to make. That first meeting with your divorce attorney can also seem like a huge step towards ending that relationship, which can make the first consultation an equally as stressful occasion, too. It is for this reason that it helps to come prepared for this initial meeting.
1. Write Down the Facts
One of the first things the divorce attorney will want to hear from you are the facts of the case. It may seem common sense and natural that these facts would just come out easily in a discussion with the attorney, but stress can often cause someone to lose track of something he or she would not normally forget.
Write down the facts of the relationship from start to finish. Even small facts may end up being very important to the attorney in the long run. When in doubt, write it down.
The attorney will want to know everything up front so that he or she can be fully aware of any possible problems that may come up in the case. Be upfront and honest when discussing issues surrounding the marriage. Surprises at a later date are not always a good thing, especially when it comes to a family law case.
2. Come in With Questions
In addition to writing down the facts of the case, it helps to write down any questions that you may have. This consultation is the first chance the client has to get his or her questions answered.
Many clients hear different stories from other people in their lives about what happened in someone’s divorce they know or may walk into the meeting with misconceptions about how things will go. This meeting will be that first chance the client can have to clear up these misconceptions and get a good idea on what to expect realistically.
No question is too silly to ask. The attorney will expect that the client does not know the law and will be happy to answer questions presented to him or her. Write them down ahead of time because it can be easy for questions to be forgotten. The last thing you want to do is leave with any questions left unanswered.
3. Take Notes of the Discussion
The attorney will present a lot of information at this initial meeting, and it can be easy to forget what was said. It is for this reason that taking notes can be a helpful idea during this consultation.
4. Bring All Important Documentation
The attorney’s office may already ask for this information at the time the consultation is scheduled, but it is important that the individual bring any important documentation for the case.
If divorce has already been filed, bring this paperwork. The attorney may also want the client’s pay stubs and/or most recent tax returns, as well as any other important financial documentation. If the client does not bring this information to the initial meeting, the attorney may send him or her home with a list of items that are needed at a later date.
5. Interview the Attorney
Keep in mind that this consultation is not just a chance for the potential client to get his or her questions answered by the attorney. It is also the chance the potential client has to interview the attorney. It is important that the client feel like he or she can trust the attorney to handle the case.
Is divorce his or her specialty? How many divorce cases has the attorney tried in court? How many of them have been settled out of court?
It is also important to ask the attorney who will be handling the case the most. Many attorneys rely heavily on support staff and associates to handle the actual case work and preparation.
Ask how the attorney communicates with clients whether it be through email or phone communication. Make sure that the answers fit well with the expectations of the client and what he or she would prefer.
Costs can also play a factor so ask about the attorney’s retainer, as well as the hourly rate for the attorney and support staff. Make sure this information is given initially so no surprises come up later.
Truly listen to the answers the attorney is giving you. A good attorney will tell the client the law and what he or she should expect, not just what the client wants to hear. Being upfront and realistic about the process can avoid disappointment later.
Contact A Divorce Lawyer Today
To schedule your initial divorce consultation, please contact family lawyers at Scott M. Brown and Associates. You can reach us by calling (979) 318-3075 or completing our online form. We have offices in Angleton, League City/Clear Lake, and Pearland.