What Happens in My First Consultation With a Collaborative Divorce Lawyer?

If you are approaching collaborative divorce in North Carolina, you may be ready to schedule your first consultation with your family law attorney. This will be the first time you ever sit down and speak with your lawyer, and it can feel like a daunting prospect. Perhaps you are wondering whether you should ask specific questions. Maybe you need to figure out the proper etiquette in this scenario. Perhaps you are wondering what your lawyer will say and what kinds of subjects you will discuss. Many spouses may feel a certain degree of uncertainty or even anxiety as they approach this initial consultation. So what actually happens during this consultation?

In some ways, the best way to find out is to take the plunge. Book a consultation with a qualified, experienced divorce attorney in North Carolina, and you can find out for yourself what happens during these meetings. In most cases, feelings of anxiety and uncertainty are misplaced. As long as you choose a qualified, experienced divorce attorney, you will be treated politely and professionally during this initial consultation. A good divorce lawyer understands that most spouses are not legal experts, and they will do their best to explain how collaborative divorce works. With all that said, it makes sense to prepare for your consultation as best you can. 

What Happens in a Consultation?

The first thing you need to understand is that a consultation is just a meeting. It does not automatically begin the divorce process. In addition, consulting with an attorney does not mean that you are legally obliged to work with them in the future. If you do not like the attorney for whatever reason, you can book a consultation with a different attorney and explore other options instead. Divorce attorneys are like any other licensed professional in North Carolina. If you want to renovate your kitchen, you might meet with a contractor and receive a quote. The same general logic applies to your first consultation with a divorce attorney. 

During the consultation, your attorney might ask you to provide information about your unique situation. They may ask you whether you are merely considering divorce or whether you have decided to follow through with it. They may also ask you what caused your divorce, although they will probably do this in a considerate and sensitive way. 

Once these questions are out of the way and the attorney has a general idea of your situation, they may start to talk about your options. They may recommend certain courses of action, and they may explain how they can help you achieve specific goals. In addition, an attorney might describe their own personal philosophy toward divorce during this initial consultation. 

How Do I Know Whether I Should Work With the Attorney?

Meeting with an attorney face-to-face during a consultation is helpful because it allows you to get a sense of their personality. This is not possible through emails or phone conversations. Remember, you may be working with this individual for many months. You need to establish a comfortable, professional working relationship with your attorney. Consider whether they are considerate and whether they explain complex legal concepts in a clear, concise manner. 

What to Bring to a Consultation

There are a few things you might want to bring with you to your consultation:

  • Tax returns
  • Pay stubs
  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Social security cards
  • Birth certificates of the children
  • Evidence of marital misconduct (texts, videos, photos, social media posts, etc.)

With all that said, you do not actually have to bring anything to your consultation if you do not want to. It is your attorney’s job to gather this information, and there will be plenty of time to do this at a later date. However, it never hurts to come prepared. 

What to Ask an Attorney During the Consultation

Here are some questions you might want to ask your attorney:

  • What kind of experience do you have?
  • How long have you practiced law?
  • Have you dealt with divorces like mine before?
  • How do you handle attorney fees?
  • How will we communicate in the future?
  • What are my main financial concerns in regard to my divorce?
  • Will I keep custody of my children?
  • Are there any tax concerns that I should be aware of?
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you are ready to take the plunge and book your first consultation, reach out to Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Over the years, we have helped numerous spouses in North Carolina with collaborative divorces. We understand that your first consultation can be a daunting prospect, but this first meeting might be much easier than you think. Sometimes, it is best to simply dive straight in. Once we start working alongside each other, we can begin to address any concerns you might have about your divorce. The sooner we get started, the better. Book your consultation today.