If you’ve decided on divorce, chances are you’re already doing your research to find an attorney. If you’re ready to book your first consultation, you’re taking an important first step in getting your case resolved. I want to give you some of my best tips for getting the most out of your consultation so that you don’t walk away with more questions than answers.
Friend or Foe?
How do you want to resolve your case? Are you looking forward to taking your ex to court – or are you willing to resolve things as amicably as possible? Your answer will help you book your consultation with the appropriate attorney.
I practice collaborative divorce, which means both sides commit to resolving all their divorce issues out of court. It is generally more cost-effective than traditional litigation and helps leave families emotionally and financially more intact. I say this because if you are looking to resolve things peaceably, you probably don’t want to consult with an avid litigator. Likewise, if you know you’ll need to go to court, a collaborative divorce attorney may not be the best fit. Decide which approach you want and go from there.
Attorneys generally charge for a consultation, so know that ahead of time. You may need to save some money or plan for that cost in your budget. Consultations are usually an hour and can cost in the $300 range, but they could be more, they could be less. It will always depend on the individual attorney.
Clients book consultations for a variety of reasons. You may be contemplating divorce and want to know what your options are. You may already be in the divorce process and need an attorney to proceed. Whatever the reason, just know that an hour consultation can fly by. You’re paying hard-earned money. Don’t waste it. Keep the following in mind:
Have a list of questions – whatever they are. Writing them down will help keep you on track. If you’re not sure what specific questions to ask, ask the attorney about all your available options in your situation.
It’s OK to Get Help
Even in the collaborative process, divorce can be painful. Some of my best clients have been those who have sought counseling before seeking out an attorney. It’s not a must – but processing your emotions before your consultation may help you focus on the task at hand. You don’t want to pay an attorney solely to be your sounding board. You need legal advice for your divorce, a game plan, a way forward. You don’t want you to walk away from your consultation empty handed.
How Do I Know if It Went Well?
You should leave your consultation with a general idea of your options. You may not be able to address every detail of your divorce in one hour. But an attorney can explain your most pressing issues and talk about what to do going forward. If you need a second consultation, that’s ok. Some clients do that when more questions come up or circumstances change. If your consulting attorney addresses your questions, you feel satisfied with the advice you’re given, and you feel you’re a good match, then the consultation is a success.
Our practice deals exclusively with collaborative divorces. We have successfully kept couples out of court for years. It’s not traditional litigation. It’s different. That’s why our mission statement here is “Divorce Differently.” If you’re ready to divorce differently, call us and set up a consultation. We’d love to help.
Lindsey Dasher is the Managing Partner at Dasher Law PLLC