Taking that first step and visiting with a divorce lawyer can be intimidating, especially if you have never worked with an attorney before. A divorce can lay bare private information about your relationship and your finances, and the thought of discussing these sensitive topics with a stranger can lead you to delay getting legal help.
But no matter which attorney you choose to meet with, the consultation process will likely be similar. Knowing what to expect can go a long way toward reducing any anxiety you might feel about this upcoming consultation and reaffirming that you made the right decision in reaching out.
What You Can Expect from Your Attorney
During your first consultation with a divorce lawyer, there are three things you can expect to happen:
Expect Your Attorney to Explain Confidentiality
First, you can expect that the lawyer you are meeting will explain that they will not share the information you discuss with them. This is called the “duty of confidentiality,” and it means that your lawyer cannot share details about your conversation with others outside of the firm without your explicit consent.
Within the firm, the lawyer will only share those details reasonably necessary to perform tasks related to your case. For example, if you decide to retain the lawyer, they may share personal information about your case with a paralegal or legal assistant so that person can prepare your divorce petition, answer, or other filing.
However, it would violate ethical rules for your attorney to discuss your case with other attorneys, their own family members, or their social media followers — unless you approve this beforehand.
To provide you with the best legal advice, your attorney must understand your situation fully. Because you can expect your attorney to maintain confidentiality, you can fully disclose things to your divorce lawyer without fear of embarrassment or retribution.
Confidentiality Exists Even if You Do Not Retain the Attorney
This obligation of confidentiality exists for the attorney even if you do not hire them after your consultation. The attorney would not be allowed to share your private information with others and would not be allowed to represent your ex or any other party involved in your case.
Limited Exceptions to Confidentiality
The duty to keep information confidential does not protect all communications you have with your lawyer. Specifically, anything you communicate to the lawyer in a public setting that is overheard by another person is not covered.
Moreover, your attorney may have an ethical duty to report if you share with them an intention to commit certain crimes. Finally, if you sue your attorney for malpractice, your attorney may be able to disclose to a court the conversations they had with you.
Expect Your Attorney to Ask Probing Questions
Come to your consultation prepared to answer detailed and challenging questions so that your attorney can understand your situation, goals, and objectives. It is helpful if you bring financial records, relevant communications with the other party, and any other documents you feel might help your attorney understand your circumstances.
Your attorney will likely discuss the reasons for the divorce, including unfaithfulness or other behaviors that contributed to the breakup. Your lawyer will also want to get a picture of your finances, property, and assets, your expectations for any children you have, and any concerns for your physical or financial security.
Expect Your Attorney to Discuss Their Services
During your first meeting with your attorney, they will do a great deal of listening as they try to understand you and your circumstances. But your attorney should also discuss their services with you, explaining the various ways they can help you to achieve your objectives.
While your attorney can use their knowledge and skill to represent you effectively, you can decide what legal goals and objectives your attorney should pursue.
Discussing their services also involves defining your and your attorney’s responsibilities going forward. Your attorney should identify what tasks they need you to accomplish and when these tasks should be completed. Similarly, during your meeting, your lawyer should identify for you the things they will complete and by when.
Consult with a Qualified and Experienced Divorce Lawyer
Whether you need to file for divorce or have been served with divorce paperwork, do not delay contacting Blattner Family Law Group for help. Our qualified family law team is dedicated to building trust with you from the very first meeting, allowing you to have confidence that your divorce or other family law matter will be handled competently and professionally.
Start the resolution of your case by reaching out to Blattner Family Law Group today.