Your First Time Meeting with a Divorce Attorney

Is the visit confidential? 

Yes, it is.  Anything you share with the prospective lawyer is protected by the attorney- client privilege.  

What should I bring?  

Prepare a list of questions and bring a notepad.  It is generally not necessary to bring any financial documentation with you to this first meeting.  When making your appointment, ask the scheduler if anything is needed.   If you are meeting a lawyer regarding a post decree matter, bring your prior orders. 

What should I expect from this meeting? 

Be prepared to discuss the following issues:  (1) the divorce process, (2) the children parental responsibilities (custody) (3) division of assets and debts, (4) support (child support and/ spousal support), and (5) attorney fees and costs.  

Should I meet with more than one lawyer?  

Yes, I would consider interviewing more than one candidate to ensure a good fit for you.  

What questions should I ask?   

The topics you discuss will depend on where you are in the process and your situation.  When you prepare for your initial consultation, consider the following commonly asked questions:  

  1. How much will my divorce cost?   

This is one of the most commonly asked questions.  For good reason, cost is important to almost every client.  Unfortunately, this can be a difficult question to answer especially during the first meeting.  Every case is different, the complexity of the issues, level of conflict and unforeseen issues vary in every case.  Instead, consider asking: 

  • How much is your retainer?
  • What is your hourly rate? 
  • Do you have support staff that can work at a lower rate?
  • How can I save money?
  • How frequently will you invoice me?  
  • What are the typical costs?
  • What extraordinary costs do you anticipate?  
  • Can my spouse pay my attorney fees? 
  • What ways have you seen client’s increase fees unnecessarily? 
  1. How many trials have you won?  It makes sense, you want to know if your attorney is successful.  Unfortunately, defining a “win” in a family law context is almost impossible.  Instead, consider asking: 
  • How many years have you practiced family law? 
  • Do you have trial experience? 
  • How do you approach domestic relations cases?  
  • What is your philosophy on settlement vs litigation?
  1. What is the process/what should I expect?  
  • What should I expect with the legal process/procedures? 
  • What should I expect working with you and your staff?  

Key Takeaways:  

▪  Be prepared. 

▪  Get informed. 

▪  Take your time.  

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