In choosing the divorce attorney who will represent you in your divorce case, it is always advisable to first interview several divorce and family lawyers either/or by phone or in person. You should choose the attorney that you feel most comfortable to talk with and that you feel will have your best interests in mind, because you and that attorney will be working together quite frequently.
If a divorce attorney that you meet with seems impatient and pushes the consultation to be over quickly and does not seem to be listening to you, then perhaps that attorney is not the best choice for you. A good divorce attorney is one that truly takes the time to listen to you and what you have to say first.
Some attorneys offer free consultations, either an hour or 30 minutes, while others might charge for their time. It is important for you to understand that this alone is not how you should base consulting with a particular attorney. Use your judgment as to whether you believe that a particular attorney is worth meeting with even if they charge some sort of consultation fee. If you decide to retain that attorney, request that the consultation fee be waived since you are becoming a client.
You should be prepared to ask questions about your case and what to expect, such as what the retainer fee will be, the attorney’s billing rate, court filing fees, and other costs. Be prepared with some written questions and issues to discuss at your first meeting, but be reasonable in the amount of questions you have, because the primary intent of the first meeting is to get a feeling about the attorney and if you will feel comfortable working with that attorney.
Moreover, be focused about the issues of your marriage, and try to avoid rambling about the end of your marriage, although the attorney might indicate that he or she wants to understand the big picture of what caused the demise of your marriage. Whenever the attorney asks you specific questions, try to provide specific answers, because the attorney is trying to understand what will need to be done in your divorce case. The attorney will also of course need to know the basic information about your marriage, such as the date of marriage, the date of separation and the names and birth dates of the children, among other information.
The lawyer will need to determine the financial circumstances of both parties of the marriage, including incomes of the parties, and the debts and obligations of the parties. Those circumstances will help determine the possible need for child and spousal support, whether a spouse is underemployed, and possible options regarding child custody.
Hopefully by the end of the first meeting, you have a good sense of what the attorney is like and can offer you in your case, and also that the attorney has been able to give you an idea of what you can expect in your divorce case.
Gerald A. Maggio is an experienced Orange County divorce and family law lawyer and family law attorney located in Irvine, California, serving the Orange County and Riverside areas. Mr. Maggio assists clients with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, divorce mediation, child custody, prenuptial agreements, stepparent adoptions, and other family law issues. Mr. Maggio has practiced law in California since 1999, and founded The Maggio Law Firm in 2005, focusing exclusively on divorce and family law matters.