Meeting with an attorney for the first time can be intimidating and scary. You don’t know what to expect, what you may need to bring or what is going to happen. Hopefully this blog will help alleviate some of your concerns and make the first consultation go smoothly and quickly.
- Make Sure You Make an Appointment! Although it may seem silly to have to say, I have walk-ins every day. And while I appreciate anyone who wants to my legal advice, I may not be in, I may be rushed, or I may have other clients waiting. If you want the very best service, call ahead form an appointment.
- Ask if There is an Intake Worksheet You Can Fill Out Beforehand. Most Divorce Lawyers will have an intake worksheet that is used to gather most of the relevant information they will need to get your divorce filed. If you get a copy of this beforehand, and fill it out COMPLETELY, it will save time and a possible extra meeting.
- Have an Idea of What You Want From Your Divorce. The main issues that come up in a typical divorce case are custody, visitation, child support, property division, debt division and alimony. If you think hard about these things and have at least a general idea of what you want, the attorney will be better prepared to help you get what you want, or at least tell you that you are being unreasonable.
- Bring All Relevant Documents. If you have been served with paperwork, bring it! Also, it is helpful if you bring recent paystubs for both parties, copies of the last couple of years’ tax returns, documentation to prove how much health insurance is FOR THE CHILDREN ONLY, PRINTOUTS of any text messages you think may be relevant to a custody proceeding and any other documents that you think may be important.
- Bring a List of Questions. When you get to the lawyer’s office, you may forget a lot of what you have thought about beforehand. In the days leading up to the appointment, write down any thoughts or questions you might have and bring them to the appointment. It will save you from having to call back and ask simple questions later on (which you will usually get charged for).
- Don’t Waste Your, or the Attorney’s, Time. Almost every lawyer will require a retainer to take your family law case. Retainers start at around $1,500 and up. If you cannot afford to pay that for a retainer, call and ask before the appointment if they will accept payments. If not, it is a waste of both of your time to spend 30 minutes meeting with a lawyer you know you cannot hire. Also, if you cannot make the appointment, please call and cancel plenty of time beforehand.
If you follow these tips, your first meeting with your lawyer will be a productive one and cost you less money in the long run.