Facing a divorce, custody case, or other family law matter is stressful enough. Having to worry about legal costs only adds to the stress. That’s why many people are drawn to family law attorneys who advertise that they do not charge for an initial meeting. Some people who contact our office are initially disappointed to hear that we do charge—until we explain why.
We have the same goal as you do: helping you get meaningful answers to your legal questions in an affordable way. If we did not charge something for initial consultations, they would necessarily be brief and general—more of an "infomercial" than a real consultation. At some offices, that meeting is not only short, it's not even with an attorney. When you need real answers to urgent legal questions, that's a waste of your time.
We have found the best way to get people the substantive legal help they need without burdening them financially is to offer an initial consultation at a reduced rate for most cases. (If your case doesn't qualify for a reduced consultation rate, we will let you know beforehand.)
A reduced rate allows our attorneys to set aside the time to give specific guidance and let potential clients get to know us. At the same time, the rate is low enough that it is affordable for most people. Clients who retain us after this initial consultation almost always tell us that it was well worth it.
When you have a family law or estate matter that you want to discuss with an attorney, the first thing to do is to contact our office. You'll be connected with our Client Advocate, with whom you will have a brief phone call. During that call, she will ask you some preliminary questions about your situation. That information will enable her to schedule a meeting for you with an attorney who is well-suited to meet your needs.
Before that phone call ends, your initial consultation will be scheduled with an attorney who is experienced in the legal issues that are relevant to you. We have both Zoom and in-person consultations available.
Your initial consultation will be up to an hour in length. During that time, you will have the opportunity to tell the attorney your story and ask any questions you have about the legal process or how your case might unfold. We encourage you to write down any questions you have so you don't forget to ask them. Our experienced attorneys have helped many clients through family law and estate matters, so they may anticipate your questions before you even ask them, but writing your questions down in advance ensures that you don't leave our office without the information you are seeking.
Many people come into consultations with high anxiety because they don't know what to expect from the legal process. Our attorneys empower you with information, but don't overwhelm you. Our goal is to relieve your stress and allow you to make clear-headed decisions. You will learn about the legal process, the various options available for resolving family law or estate disputes, and what your next steps need to be. We will also provide you with resources to take home with you.
What you need to do after your consultation depends on your case. If you just want to learn more about divorce options or estate planning, you may want to take some time to consider your options. If you have been served with legal papers, you need to take fairly prompt action. The attorney with whom you meet will let you know if there are any deadlines for taking legal action in your case. Failing to meet those deadlines can jeopardize your rights, so it's important to take them seriously.
If you feel, after the initial consultation, that you would like to work with the attorney or our firm, you will have the opportunity to sign a retainer agreement. If you want time to think about it, that's fine, too (so long as you are able to respond to any court filings in a timely manner). We encourage you to take all the time you need; we'll be here when you need us.
When you speak with our Client Advocate on the phone to schedule your initial consultation with an attorney, she will let you know if there is anything in particular you need to bring. In general, if you have been served with divorce papers or any type of lawsuit, bring all of those papers with you so that the attorney will know the deadline for filing an answer. If you are seeking a consultation about a probate matter, bring a copy of the will or trust and other estate planning documents, if any.
In general, for most divorce and estate planning matters, it is helpful to have a general idea of the amount and type of assets involved, but complete documentation is usually not necessary at the initial consultation.
Remember: our goal at your initial consultation is to relieve your anxiety about the legal process ahead and help you to feel in control of your future. No matter what you are facing, you are not alone. There is a team of experienced, compassionate attorneys and legal staff waiting to help you. We invite you to learn more about our team, what our clients say about us, and to get to know us.