Seven things to get from your first family lawyer meeting

I always like my clients to have a sense of value out of any meeting we have together, so I’ve prepared this outline of what your first meeting is all about so that you can be adequately prepared and clear on your expectations, regardless of which Perth family law firm you have chosen to use.

You first meeting with a lawyer is very important. You need to come away from your meeting with a clear idea of what the different processes are for your separation or divorce, what you need to do from that point and with clear advice about what you are entitled to.

At your first meeting the 7 things that you should get from your appointment are:

  1. Specific and plain English about your rights and your likely entitlements and outcomes.
  2. An overview of the processes involved in finalising your arrangements.
  3. An estimate of the time this is likely to take.
  4. An estimate of the cost of the different processes.
  5. Direction as to which path is likely to best suit your needs.
  6. Options to achieve a final resolution.
  7. Information about agencies and other professionals who can assist you.

Before your meeting write down a list of questions that you need answered. At end of your meeting read through your questions and make sure they have all been answered.

During your meeting your lawyer may ask you about things you are unsure of or don’t know or ask you to obtain documents or speak to certain people like your accountant, financial planner or mortgage broker (for an idea on the sorts of information to bring to your meeting, read this blog – it might save you the cost of a second meeting!). Make sure you write down what you need to do. You will get a lot of information during your meeting and it is usually difficult to remember everything.

It is a good idea to bring a friend or family member as a support person. They can provide emotional support, remember things you forget and take notes. An experienced family lawyer will encourage you to bring someone with you.

Many people find their first meeting tiring and often emotional. Try and take some time after your meeting to “debrief” with your support person or a friend or family member before you return to work or family. It’s a long journey you’re on now – good luck!

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