As you prepare to meet with a divorce lawyer for the first time, it is not unusual to experience intimidation and uncertainty about that meeting. During your first meeting, these are some questions you can ask to learn more about the divorce process and what to expect during your divorce.
1. What Do You Need to Know from Me?
When meeting with a divorce lawyer for the first time, many clients struggle with where to start with their story. There are often many years of history to unpack in a one- or two-hour meeting. Let the lawyer guide you through this process. This will allow the divorce attorney to gather information that will better assist him or her in answering your questions. Here are some topics you may discuss: FAQ.
2. How Can I Make This Divorce Less Expensive?
Most clients are understandably concerned about the financial cost of a divorce. The cost will depend on many factors, including how complicated your case is, whether custody of the children will be contested, and how well you can cooperate with your spouse during the process.
Your lawyer can tell you about ways of settling your case that are more efficient, and you and your spouse’s ability to compromise will make settlement more likely and the case, therefore, less expensive. In general, the less the divorce lawyers have to get involved with disputes between you and your spouse, the less money you will spend on legal fees. For that reason, it may be better to lean on friends and family for emotional support rather than paying your lawyer for that.
During your first meeting with a lawyer, you can discuss potential strategies to better manage the cost of a divorce. Of course, the cost does not all depend on you or your lawyer – your spouse and his or her lawyer will play a big role in the ultimate cost.
3. What Can I Expect the Divorce Process to Be Like?
Divorces are difficult even in the best of circumstances. Every divorce is very different, and the timing and difficulty of the process will depend on the issues that the parties need to resolve and the level of cooperation between the parties. However, most divorces follow a similar process.
The process includes filing for divorce, serving or notifying the other party, gathering information, possible temporary orders to address child custody, support and managing assets during the divorce, and some form of resolution through either a settlement agreement or a court hearing. During your initial meeting with a divorce lawyer, the lawyer will talk with you about this process. He or she can also gauge how complicated and lengthy your case may be based on the property and child-related issues you discuss.
4. What Are My Next Steps After This Meeting?
At the end of your meeting with your divorce lawyer, you will have some decisions to make. Some clients will need to hire an attorney immediately, especially if their spouse has already started the process. Others may not be ready to file for months. Your lawyer will likely give you a written contract and will require a deposit (a retainer) to take your case.
Your lawyer may also require more information from you before he or she can file. Before you leave the meeting, be sure to ask the lawyer what they need from you to effectively prepare for the next steps in your case.
5. Tell Me About Yourself
Your divorce lawyer will have an enormous amount of influence on how your divorce goes forward. You should ask your lawyer whether they have experience with the special circumstances in your divorce and learn what he or she will bring to the table. Each divorce attorney also has his or her own philosophy and approach to handling a divorce case. As with any professional, you want to make sure your lawyer will be a good fit for you and what you hope to accomplish.
How We Can Help
A consultation with a lawyer is a confidential meeting that can inform you about what to expect during your divorce.
Please contact us to schedule a meeting, and we can offer further guidance about this process.