What Can I Expect at My Initial Consultation?

The first step in almost all divorce cases is an initial consultation with an attorney, or multiple attorneys. Most people arrive for a consultation with a list of questions they want answered or topics they want to discuss. Having a goal for your initial consultation is important, as it will help your attorney get to know you and understand what you want out of your case. What is equally important is being prepared for your meeting with your attorney. In order to answer questions like “how much time can I expect to have with my children?” or “how much alimony can I expect to pay/receive?” or “what is going to happen with the house?” your attorney will need some information from you. You may receive a brief questionnaire to complete prior to your arrival, and it may seem to ask some detailed, personal questions, and it probably does. In order to properly advise you, your attorney will need to know things about you, your spouse, your marriage, your family, and your financial situation. You should arrive to your initial consultation prepared to discuss any retirement accounts, savings, investments, debt, real property, and any other assets you may own; the types of accounts, the date acquired, and a rough value will be important. Additionally, you should be able to provide a brief description of your marriage and of your spouse – the type of relationship you currently have, the relationship you both have with your children, the division of household duties, and anything else that you feel is relevant. While it might be uncomfortable to share these intimate details with a stranger, it is necessary in order to get effective representation. You can rest assured that the information you provide will not be shared with anyone other than any necessary persons (i.e. paralegals or experts working on the case), as everything revealed while speaking with an attorney is confidential and protected by the attorney-client privilege.