How to prepare for your family law consultation

By Chyanne Sharma, law student, legal assistant

Your first meeting with a family lawyer is very important and we know that it can be a very stressful first step in resolving your legal matter. In a family law case, you can be dealing with a multitude of difficult issues such as separation, divorce, child custody and possession of the family home. Therefore, it is essential that when you are hiring a lawyer, you ensure that they are right for you. You should therefore take advantage of your free initial consultation to get to know your family lawyer and present the issues to them in an organized way.

An initial consultation is the very first meeting between you and your family lawyer. It is a chance for you and your lawyer to decide if you can work together in a solicitor-client relationship. To ensure that you make the most out of your free consultation with a family lawyer, we have put together some useful tips to help you prepare.

Write down any questions you may have
Writing down your questions is one of the best things that you can do to prepare for your meeting. Family law and divorce matters can be overwhelming, stressful, and emotional, which can sometimes lead you to forget to ask important questions that you might want to discuss with the family lawyer—so write them down! This will also help you streamline your concerns by keeping you on track so that you can make the most out of your consultation. Here are some questions you might want to consider: 

  • How can I resolve issues regarding children?
  • How can I protect money in shared accounts?
  • Can I resolve my legal matter through mediation or negotiation?
  • What are the next steps I should take?
  • Is there anything that I should or should not do?
  • Are my expectations realistic?
  • What will my costs be?
  • What are my legal rights?
  • How long does this process take?

Communication is key when building a solicitor-client relationship, so don’t be afraid to ask your questions or be honest. Everything you tell your family lawyer is protected by confidentiality and solicitor client privilege. This means that your lawyer cannot share your information with anyone.

Remember that everything you tell your lawyer remains confidential
Lawyers are bound by solicitor-client privilege, this means that documents and communications related to your matter remain private and confidential between the lawyer and client. Your family lawyer wants to help you through this difficult process but that also depends on you to provide all the relevant information that is required so that they can properly assess the situation within a legal context. Knowing that the information you share will remain confidential provides you with the confidence to share your story so that your lawyer can help you look at the various options and likely outcomes.

Prepare a Summary of Outlining Your Family Matter
Be ready to tell your story in a clear and logical order. It is helpful to the family lawyer when you provide them with as much detail as possible. This includes relevant dates such as when you started living together with your partner, the date of separation, and any details that concern your children as well. Also gather any documents that are important to your case such as court documents. Also, if you can, bring your marriage certificate, tax documents, important text messages, your employment contract and any recent letters from your ex-spouse’s lawyer if you have any. Often clients think that some information is too embarrassing or not relevant enough to mention, but it could be very important to your case, so share it!

Voice your concerns!
A lawyer is an expert in the law. Take the opportunity during your consultation to let the lawyer know of any concerns you may have regarding your family law matter. Here are some concerns that you might have:

  • Your ability to meet your expenses.
  • Your partner’s ability to parent your children.
  • Creating a parenting schedule that is in the best interest of the children.
  • How family debts will be paid.
  • Personal risks such as family violence.

Why Choose Crossroads Law for Your Family Law Matter?
At Crossroads Law, our goal is to help our clients successfully navigate the family law system to reach an outcome that best meets their needs and the needs of their family. We pride ourselves on being up to date on all the latest legal developments in the law in both British Columbia and Alberta. We offer a wide variety of legal services in every area of family law and divorce law. We also provide mediation services and collaborative divorce. We can provide consultations across B.C. and Alberta by phone or Zoom. Contact us now for your free consultation.