Once you've made the decision to meet with a divorce or child custody attorney, it can be overwhelming when you start to think about all the questions you'd like to have the answer to by the end of the meeting. However, consultations cost money so it's important to get the most bang for your buck. Here are some of our best tips for how to be completely prepared:
- Ask which documents you need to bring with you: When you call to make your appointment, ask the staff which documents you should bring with you to the appointment. If there multiple documents which might take some time to review, ask the staff if it's possible to either fax, email or drop off the documents ahead of time in order to give the attorney time to review them prior to your appointment. This will allow you and the attorney to use every minute of the consultation discussing your options instead of reading the documents.
- Make a list of all of your questions: Many folks get nervous once the attorney walks into the room (they shouldn't - we're just people, too!), and that nervousness causes them to forget many of the questions which were front and center of their minds just an hour before. If you take the time to write down all of your questions ahead of time and bring them with you, then it's easy to refer to your list during the meeting if your mind suddenly goes blank. If you're not sure what should ask, click here for our advice on things you should always ask every attorney you meet with before deciding which one to hire.
- Ask the attorney for referrals: Often family law cases need to have other professionals involved in order to address the issues at hand. For example, in custody cases, family therapists, child psychologists, or even forensic psychologists may need to be involved to gather and present information about the family dynamics and/or the ability of each parent to be the primary custodian. In divorce cases, your attorney may want you to hire a private investigator to gather evidence which will support your allegations for a fault-based divorce (click here for more information about fault-based divorces). If the attorney is advocating for you to hire other professionals, ask for specific names of referrals, but also ask for names you should avoid. The attorney you hire should be very familiar with the "best" professionals in each of these areas and have a good working relationship with them. If they can't name anyone or they don't typically handle cases needing those types of professionals, don't hire them for your case. Experience matters in cases like yours and you deserve the best attorney you can afford.
- Beware of guarantees and promises of the "slam dunk" case: Beware of the attorney who guarantees a “slam dunk” result or that you will win on every issue you present. Every case is different and no attorney will be able to fully evaluate and analyze every scenario during an initial consultation. A good attorney will promise only that he or she will fully evaluate your case and always advocate for your position zealously.
Hiring an attorney is a big deal, but it doesn't have to be scary or intimidating. By following this advice, you should feel more confident walking into your consultation and be able to make a more informed decision about which attorney is the right fit for your case and your personality.
The Stevens Firm, P.A. - Family Law Center has provided exceptional legal counsel and support to families throughout South Carolina for over two decades, handling all matters of family law, such as child custody, child support, and divorce. We are well-equipped to handle all divorce and family law matters, no matter your circumstances. Contact us at (864) 598-9172 or by clicking here to schedule an initial consultation.