I like to tell my clients that the only way to mess up the first appointment with a divorce attorney is to not have the first appointment with a divorce attorney. It is not your responsibility to know what is going to happen during your divorce. A good lawyer will walk you through every step of the process. With that said, even a good lawyer will need your help in obtaining the results you need.
I have 3 objectives to accomplish during our first meeting:
First, I want to get a clear picture of your situation. Depending on our timeline, I usually send you a questionnaire, which prompts you for much of the basic information that I need to give you a top-line consultation regarding you divorce. The more information you can include on my questionnaire, the more efficient we can be during our first meeting.
A first appointment is most efficient when a client can sum up the issues they are concerned about thoroughly but succinctly. A general over view of the struggles a client is experiencing is usually sufficient to begin the process. It is extremely helpful if while explaining your situation, you can also communicate your goals. Understanding your goals will help me set the correct trajectory for you case. However, if you do not know your goals, we will discuss your options and work on that together.
Second, I want to explain the process of divorce to you and highlight areas that are specific to your circumstances. I have answers to questions you do not know to ask, so we want to leave time for me to provide you with that information. I also want you to know the most effective way to communicate with me and my office staff. I want to ensure that you are always able to get the information you need and know the most direct and timely approach to get that information. And, I want to discuss with you strategies on how to communicate with your spouse, so that you are setting yourself up for success.
Finally, I want to answer all of your remaining questions. You should leave our first appointment secure in the knowledge of how we will move forward in the progression of your divorce. It is helpful if you come to a first appointment with a list of written questions. This ensures you get the answers you need and encourages you to take the time outside of the appointment to think through all of your concerns. We will certainly schedule time for follow-up questions but, the more prepared you are, the more information you can glean from our first appointment.
Again, it is not necessary that you come prepared to our first meeting. Just picking up the phone is sometimes all a person can accomplish. That’s fine. If you are watching this video, it is because you are facing extremely difficult challenges and decisions. The only thing required for you to begin obtaining relief is to pick up the phone or shoot a quick email. My job is to handle things after that.