Your Initial Consultation with a Divorce Attorney

Published: Friday, August 11, 2017

Scheduling an initial consultation with a divorce attorney can be an intimidating and difficult first step. This is a time to meet your potential new attorney and ask your questions. This first meeting should serve three main purposes.

First, a good initial consultation should work to educate you about your divorce options. In Ohio, there are both adversarial and non-adversarial options from which to choose. Be sure to ask the attorney about the pros and cons of each:

  1. Collaborative Divorce - where both parties commit to reaching a respectful out-of-court resolution with assistance of attorneys and other professionals guiding the process;

  2. Mediation - where a neutral third party assists with settlement negotiations;

  3. Attorney Negotiation - where attorneys attempt to reach an agreement, with or without divorce litigation pending; and,

  4. Litigation - the court-based traditional process.

Second, the consultation allows you to learn some basic information about the issues in a divorce. When you are just meeting an attorney for the first consultation, the attorney usually does not have enough information about you to give specific legal advice or answer your legal questions with certainty. However, the attorney can generally discuss the main legal issues that need to be decided during a case, such as child custody, parenting time, support, or property division.

Third, the initial consultation allows you and the attorney to get to know each other to determine if there is a good fit. It is important that you feel comfortable communicating with your attorney and with his/her general approach to cases. Ask about his/her experience, training, certifications, office policies, and billing procedures.

Your attorney is your guide. You have to be able to trust your attorney and feel comfortable expressing your concerns. Choice of attorney is the first and perhaps the most important decision you make in determining the course and tone of your divorce! Consider communicating the importance of this choice with your spouse and/or interviewing attorneys together.

Please contact a collaborative attorney for a consultation to learn more about your options.