List Headline Image
Updated by mail-20 on May 06, 2019
mail-20 mail-20
7 items   1 followers   0 votes   0 views

Seven tips on preparing for your first meeting with a family law attorney

Your first meeting with a lawyer typically is called an initial consultation. It's an opportunity for you to decide whether you want to work with the attorney in an attorney–client relationship. Here are seven tips on how to prepare for the meeting to ensure that you make the most of your time and money.



Turn off your cell phone

To avoid interruptions, turn off or silence your cell phone or other electronic devices just before the appointment.


Decide whether to bring a friend or relative

You may bring a friend or relative with you to the appointment if it makes you feel more comfortable. But be aware of the implications of doing so. If a third party is present at the meeting, you give up any attorney–prospective client confidentiality to which you would otherwise be entitled. The friend or relative could even be subpoenaed to testify against you about what was discussed. You're usually better off meeting with the attorney alone, even if the other person is paying for the consultation and/or insists on being in the room. It may seem awkward, but don't be afraid to politely ask the person to wait in the lobby.


Bring the proper form of payment

Be sure to ask ahead of time what forms of payment the attorney accepts. If you plan to pay for the initial consultation with cash, go to an ATM beforehand to get the exact amount. Otherwise, bring your debit card, credit card, or checkbook.


Make copies for the lawyer

Don’t give the lawyer any original documents. Make copies of everything and keep the originals for yourself. If the attorney is prudent, he or she will not accept originals. Also, you don’t want to waste precious time during the appointment while the attorney or a staff member makes copies. You’re paying for that time. Better yet, send the documents by fax, or scan and email them to the lawyer’s office ahead of time.


Gather documents

Make copies of all documents you plan to share with the lawyer at the initial meeting. Be sure to include anything that has been filed with any court related to this legal matter. Also make copies of any other information that might be helpful, such as emails, texts, photos, videos, audio recordings, birth certificates, or marriage certificates.


Be prepared to explain your legal situation

Write down any information you want to share with the lawyer about your situation. Your lawyer will keep this information confidential unless required to share it with a court. Don't worry about including too many details. You might think that certain information is trivial or embarrassing, but it could be highly important.


Write down questions for the lawyer

When you go to the doctor, you may write down questions ahead of time. It's a way to make sure that you get the most from your visit. The same is true with your first meeting with a lawyer. Bring a notepad with questions, leaving space to jot down the lawyer's answers.