You search the internet for a divorce attorney, right? You are hoping that a consultation will do the trick. Unfortunately, you really don't know what to expect and whether you talk to two attorneys or twenty, after a while, you may be more confused than before.
We also know you may be stressed out and in search of answers. In this article, we create a three step process to make your consultation meaningful.
Step 1 to a Consultation with a Divorce Attorney - create a list of issues
Notice I didn't write questions. Many times, you won't know what questions to ask until you better understand the issues in your family law case. Instead, make a list of issues to discuss with your divorce attorney. For example, if you are a father and have child custody issues, you would write:
- My work schedule and time with the children
- Wife's failure to co-parent
- My right to be involved in important decisions concerning our children
- Maternal grandparent's interference with our children
- Moving out and how that could affect my custody rights and financial issues.
Those are examples of things on a father's mind. But whether you are a father or mother, husband or wife, the list should be customized to the issues in your case. Having this list in front of you will keep you focused and that focus will bring about smart questions by you and answers by your divorce attorney. Don't be surprised if your divorce attorney even provides you with a list of questions you didn't think to ask and, hopefully, answers to those as well.
- For a related article on questions to ask a divorce attorney, click on the preceding link.
Step 2 to a Consultation with a Divorce Attorney - keep reasonable expectations
Walk into a consultation without preconceived notions and you may save yourself some added stress. "I want sole custody of the children." It's something we hear parents say. But until you speak with an experienced divorce attorney, how do you know whether or not your facts support a sole child custody order? The same is true with support, property and even attorney fee issues.
One way to make sure you keep your expectations reasonable is to avoid relying on legal advice from friends and family. We have written an article on the subject of listening to family and friends instead of your divorce attorney. Read it over and tell me if it sounds like your situation. I know others mean well but your legal advice should come from an experienced divorce lawyer in Orange County, not your mother, uncle, or friend.
Step 3 to a Consultation with a Divorce Attorney - understand attorney fees and costs
If you left a consultation with a divorce lawyer, you should be clear on your attorney's hourly rate, the amount of initial deposit and an estimate of the fees and costs at the outset of your case. How much does a divorce cost is at the forefront of your mind but experienced divorce attorneys know that family law cases can be unpredictable and how much money you spend depends not only on your conduct but that of your spouse.
- For a relate article on how your divorce attorney can help you manage attorney fees, read our informative article.
Sound simple? It is. But you would be surprised how many people come into a consultation unprepared, with preconceived notions of how things should go in the divorce and leave with more questions than answers.