One of the most challenging — and rewarding — aspects of practicing family law is helping clients through some of the most challenging times of their lives. More often than not, they are going through separation and/or divorce, and need help with financial or parenting matters. In some cases, they are seeking legal advice about both. Accordingly, we do everything necessary to ensure that our clients understand their legal options. We also ensure that they have the information they need to make informed decisions.
This process begins at your first appointment. Since being prepared for this meeting will help alleviate your stress and anxiety, we’ve decided to share some insight into what usually happens at this time. Keep reading to learn more.
What to expect
When you schedule your first meeting, we’ll ask you to provide some basic information about yourself and your case. We may also ask you to provide additional details on an intake form when you come in. However, the initial consultation is your first chance to share your story directly with one of our family lawyers. Specifically, you’ll have an opportunity to tell him or her what prompted you to seek legal advice, and how you’d like the matter to be resolved.
This is also an important chance for you to share any specific questions or concerns with the lawyer. To make the most of it, consider making a list of any such matters before the meeting. That way you can simply bring it with you, so you won’t feel as stressed about remembering everything during the actual meeting.
In addition to answering your questions, the lawyer will provide some basic information about relevant legal processes, your legal rights and so on. He or she will also ask some follow-up questions about your case. With all of the information you have provided in hand, he or she will assess your situation and advise you accordingly.
Afterwards, you’ll be able to ask any questions about the advice and information you’ve received.
Knowing what you should bring to your first meeting with a family lawyer can also help lessen any stress or anxiety you experience before meeting a family lawyer. The type of paperwork we’ll need depends on your specific circumstances.
For example, if you are seeking legal advice about financial issues related to divorce or separation, gather some basic information about any individual and joint assets. These may include bank statements, along with documents reflecting ownership of your home, vehicles and so forth. Paperwork related to your superannuation, income and any other financial resources.
On the other hand, if you are seeking legal advice regarding parenting issues associated with separation or divorce, we’ll need different material. Bring any written records you’ve kept about relevant issues or concerns such as custody, child support, and visitation. Copies of any journal entries you’ve made or are making about how the breakdown of your marriage has affected your children will also be helpful. This will ensure that your lawyer is fully informed regarding your circumstances and concerns. It also saves a lot of legwork if we need them for the preparation of future court documents.
In either case, you shouldn’t stress over bringing everything to the initial consultation. There will be other opportunities to provide additional documents if necessary, and we will let you know what we need.
Bringing someone with you for moral support
Another question prospective clients often have prior to their first meeting with a family lawyer is whether they can bring someone along for moral support. The answer is, of course you can.
We fully understand that you are going through a stressful time, and you may feel overwhelmed. Accordingly, you are welcome to bring a friend, relative, colleague or anyone else that can help you feel more at ease. Having said that, it is important that anyone you do bring understands that anything we discuss at the first meeting is strictly confidential.
You should also be aware that you don’t have to bring anyone with you if you don’t want to. It is entirely up to you.
Perhaps the single most important concern people have about meeting with a family lawyer is how much it will cost.
For your convenience, the family law team at OMB Solicitors offers an initial half hour free consultation. This is when we’ll go over most of the matters detailed above. At this stage, we’ll also give you a comprehensive breakdown of the costs involved.
As a follow-up, we also offer a full untimed family law consultation for $400 plus GST, where we will try to get any additional information needed to provide you with an initial letter of advice, and a detailed letter to the other party.