Many collaborative law attorneys
offer a free consult – 30-60 minutes to meet your potential new attorney and get some questions answered. The consult serves two main purposes: learn about your options and get to know your potential attorney.
Until you have hired an attorney, you do not have confidentiality or a legal relationship with the attorney. The consulting attorney cannot give you legal advice or answer legal questions with certainty during this first meeting. The consulting attorney can talk to you about the processes available to you – litigation, collaborative law, or mediation. The consulting attorney can tell you the main legal issues that need to be decided during a case – such as child custody, parenting time, spousal maintenance, or property division.
Because the consulting attorney does not have a client relationship, you and your spouse could meet with the attorney together. This is often a good way for you both to hear information together about the process. When you receive the same message, you often feel less adversarial and more like you are both seeking a guide for the process.
Indeed, one of the most important aspects of a consult, is the opportunity for you to meet a potential attorney and see if you will be comfortable working with them. Your attorney is your guide. You may cry or express anger in front of this person – you need to feel comfortable doing so. In addition to legal adeptness and zealous advocacy, you also must be comfortable and trust your attorney. This is perhaps the most important element of the relationship.
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