Be informed and knowledgeable

When meeting with a divorce lawyer for an initial consultation your goal is to obtain as much information as possible.  Prepare for the meeting by bringing questions.  If possible, know your financial situation such as assets and liabilities.  It is okay to go to meeting with a written list of questions.

  1. Experience: What is the relevant Family Law experience of the attorney? How many years has the attorney been practicing in Family Law? How many cases has the attorney been a part of?  If your case is about relocation, does the attorney have experience with relocation cases?  If you have a paternity issue, how many paternity cases has the attorney been involved in? How many divorce clients does the attorney have? What is attorney’s litigation experience?
  2. Communication–Both method and time frame: How will the attorney communicate with you? Will it be via e-mail, telephone, text, fax or snail mail? What will the time-frame be to expect a response when you have a question or want to discuss an issue with your attorney.
  3. Attorney Fees: You should know and understand the attorney’s fee structure. How much is the required retainer? What is the attorney’s hourly billing rate?  Is there a legal assistant’s billing rate? What costs will you be billed for? How often will you receive a bill? Will the time and costs be detailed in the bill? You should understand and prepare for the financial implications of your case.
  4. Divorce Procedures: The length of time necessary to complete a divorce, child support, paternity or relocation case will always depend on the complexity and issues of your particular situation.  Your attorney should provide you with an estimate of the timeline.  How soon will you be able to get in to court or mediation?
  5. Child Custody: When you have children with your spouse and custody will be litigated, it is important to understand the factors that will be important to the Court’s decision of who will get the majority time sharing. From the very beginning of your case, you should know and understand the factors that will be important.

In conclusion, you should feel comfortable with the attorney you chose to take your case.  The result will be life-changing.  You should feel confident in your attorney.  Most family law issues are highly emotional.  Family law cases can be time consuming and can take a toll on you not only financially, but emotionally and physically.  You have to trust that your attorney is representing your interests and will communicate with you.  If you do not understand ask!

To schedule a reduced fee consultation please call 727-846-1802 or e-mail   Know your rights.

Written by Debora A. Diaz, Esq.

Family & Marital Law practitioner since 1995