What to Expect at an Initial Consultation with a Divorce Attorney

January 12, 2024

By: Carla Schiff Donnelly

Your initial consultation with an attorney is your time, especially if you are paying for it. The goal of an initial consultation is to have the client leave with all of their questions answered and a game plan for moving forward in the short term.

Getting Started

We start by asking some introductory questions so that we can understand what prompted you to seek legal counsel and to determine what issues need to be addressed first. After we gather enough basic facts, we then give you a “lay of the land” in terms where the law fits in with your situation. We then try to come up with a short-term game plan and address your questions.

It is not unusual for clients to have no or little information about their finances. That is okay. You probably know more than you think. We also have various ways that we can gather that information for you over the course of your case.

What to Bring

As far as what to bring, there is no set list. Most of the time, it is okay not to bring anything. The exception would be if you have been served with papers. In that event, it is a good idea to bring those papers with you.

Some clients bring tax returns, pay stubs, bank account statements and other documents that are concerning to them. Certainly, the more documents you bring the more specific feedback your attorney can provide.

Bring anything with you that you want us to look at, and feel free to bring a friend or relative for moral support.

Fee arrangements

At the end of the consultation, we will discuss a fee arrangement should you decide to retain our services.

A question we are asked frequently is why are our consultations not free. There are a few reasons.  First, if we gave free consultations, we would be doing them all the time and this would be unfair to our paying clients who deserve our full attention.  We would assume that an attorney who gives a free consultation has more free time on their hands, leaving us to wonder why they do not have more paying clients.

Second, the consultation is not a commercial for us, it is about you and what you want to learn about your situation.  Even if you and our team are not a good fit, you will at least leave there with knowledge about the law and the issues in your case.  Finally, some parties have been given the bad advice to go see as many attorneys as they can so their spouse cannot hire them. We have no desire to be a party to this nefarious tactic.

If you would like to set up a consultation, contact our Family Law practice group today.


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