Meeting with your divorce attorney for the first time can feel overwhelming. Sometimes, the meeting is predicated on a sincere desire to file for divorce. Other times, a divorce attorney is a necessity, as the other spouse has expressed a desire to divorce. Obviously, in either situation, meeting with your divorce attorney for the first time may be associated with a range of feelings, from sadness to anger to excitement to bewilderment to a combination of feelings – which may change on a daily, or even hourly basis.
Before meeting with your divorce attorney for the first time, there are several steps you can take to prepare yourself. It will also make the appointment move more efficiently. As a preliminary matter, it is a good idea to speak with your divorce attorney’s legal team. There may be a standard check list of “things to bring to the first meeting.” Of course, it is a good idea to collect everything the law firm requests for the first meeting. Understand that family law attorneys charge by the hour. Each time they have to ask for a document, you are paying them to request it. There is no need to pay them more than once. Get your hands on requested documents, or figure out how you can get them, as soon as humanly possible.
Write a List of Questions
No doubt you have dozens, perhaps hundreds of questions. “What will happen to the children?” “Can I afford to keep the house?” “Can I get maintenance during the pendency of the divorce?” “If he cheated on me, can I get more alimony?” The list of potential questions is endless. Your attorney will be able to answer some of your questions immediately. Other questions may require investigation and negotiation in order to determine the answer. In any event, it is a good idea to write your questions down. This accomplishes several goals. First, it ensures that you have committed the random questions that occurred to you over the course of the days leading up to the meeting. Once you’ve written them down, you can organize them according to topic.
Divorce topics generally include the following categories:
- Parenting time, sometimes referred to as child custody
- Child support
- Division of assets
- Division of debts
Of course, each of these topics lead to multiple questions.
Bring a Notebook
Your first meeting with your divorce attorney may feel a bit overwhelming. In addition to bringing your questions, bring a notebook and a pen so you can take notes. Often, meeting with a divorce attorney for the first time has an emotional component, and it is possible you may not remember everything that was said. Having a notebook gives you the chance to write things down in real time. You can consult with your notes later, if you forget something, rather than calling your attorney and asking a question you already paid to have answered.
Trust Your Divorce Professional
There is no question that is “too stupid” or “too shallow” or “too fill in the blank here” to ask your divorce attorney. In fact, an experienced divorce practitioner understands that while this is not their first divorce, it may be your first divorce. Further, every divorce is different. Issues that may have been relevant in your first divorce may have no bearing on a subsequent divorce. Any question you have deserves an answer. Even if the answer is, “I don’t know,” or “It’s too soon to tell,” or “Not in a million years.” You have the right to walk in to your divorce proceedings with reasonable expectations based on the law and the facts of your case.
In addition to trusting your divorce attorney enough to ask all your questions, it is essential that you trust your divorce attorney enough to be honest. Your divorce attorney is not going to judge you. This is not an audition for a life long friendship. Instead, you are hiring a family law attorney to represent you to the best of their ability, warts and all. That means being truthful, even about things you may not be particularly proud of.
Looking for a Divorce Attorney?
If you are looking for a divorce attorney, look no further. At Fait & DiLima, we dedicate all of our time and resources to family law cases. We have skilled family law attorneys, and a supportive legal team to help manage your case, research legal issues, file necessary documents, and make court appearances, as well as provide you competent legal advice. Call today to schedule a consultation at 301-251-0100.