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Overwhelmed: Where Do I Begin?

First: The Consultation

A consult is not the same thing as hiring an attorney. It is simply a meeting with an attorney, who should then give you legal advice and tell you what the cost is to hire that attorney. After the consult, it is the client’s decision whether to hire the attorney. The client might choose to do nothing at all after a consult. In fact, a number of people having problems with their relationship have consults because they want to know what their options are if the relationship deteriorates in the future.

It’s a chance for you to bring a list of questions you have so that you can get the answers you need to make serious decisions in your life. It can be helpful to do some research to get a general information about the process, but the attorney gives you legal advice based on your specific situation. After a consult, it is common for clients to say that they feel so much better knowing what the real issues are, and what the possible solutions are. They’re sometimes surprised to discover that threats or information from the other parent or spouse is not accurate or even feasible, which can be a big relief.

Second: After the Consult

Once you have a few answers, you can then decide whether you are ready to move forward with the separation, custody case or other important legal matter. However, if you have been served with a lawsuit or motion, that first decision is made for you. To begin working on your case, our office requires an advance of funds to be placed in your account. Sometimes, people refer to this as a retainer. If money remains in your account at the end of your case, our office returns it to you. More often, things take longer than anticipated. This is partly because it is difficult to tell how much the other party will truly dispute. If the dispute ends up in litigation, we cannot control the court system and whether there are trial dates, civil discovery, and other litigation events. The attorney your ex hires can also make a big difference, including whether he or she is willing to make any good faith efforts to settle the case before there is a trial.

Third: Relief of Sharing the Burden

The next phase after your decision to hire us is to put it in our hands. People in family law cases are already dealing with a crisis in their lives. There are numerous decisions you will need to make. But relying on an experienced attorney to guide you through the decision-making process gives you the support that you need to transition from one phase of your life to the next. Different clients have different comfort levels of involvement in their case, which they usually determine after working with us for a little while. Clients can always ask questions and discuss concerns with us, but the default mode is for us to take over the case and follow up with you as needed.

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