Everyone can relate to the experience of going to the grocery store without a shopping list and leaving the store without the one thing you went in for, but any number of other things you didn’t need. Preparation isn’t only important for grocery shopping; it can help make your meeting with your new attorney more organized and efficient – and since time really is money when dealing with an attorney, more cost-effective. That is why we recommend that people come to their first meeting with a family law attorney prepared with the following:
- Information about the basic facts of your case. If you are seeking a divorce, you will need to provide basic information such as the date of your marriage, the date of separation, your children’s birthdays, and any other important dates. You should also have information about your income and the other party’s income (a rough estimate is sufficient for the initial meeting). A list of any significant assets or debts, including the value or amount of each, if known, is also helpful. Similar information will be needed to initiate other types of cases.
- Questions you want answered about your case. If there are questions you want answered by the attorney, write them down before your meeting. Your attorney is likely to have specific information he is trying to learn about your case and as well as information to give you that he believes you may need or want. To that end attorneys will instinctively try to control the conversation, but it is important for your peace of mind that you get your questions answered as well as raise any specific concerns you have regarding your particular situation.
- Some way to make notes during the meeting. Your attorney may give you a lot of information about what to expect or what needs to be done in the context of your case. Like a visit to the doctor, so much critical information at once can be overwhelming and you may find yourself struggling to recall exactly what you were told. In addition, you may be advised to gather a variety of documents or other information or to complete other tasks prior to your next meeting. You may be asked to provide financial documents, documents related to a prior case you were involved in, or information regarding your marital history. No matter what your next step is, you want to be sure you know what you need to improve the likelihood of achieving your goal.
It is in everyone’s interest to make your meeting with your attorney as efficient and productive as possible. Coming prepared to provide the information your attorney is most likely to need, remembering to ask the questions you want to ask, and being ready to take whatever further action is required will make the process less stressful and more cost-effective.
If you would like to speak to an attorney about your family law case, please contact us today. We look forward to meeting with you.