The initial consultation
Book your free 20-minute consultation
Selecting the right family lawyer is more than just a matter of professional representation; it is about finding someone who can adequately navigate the nuances of your unique situation. Before booking a consultation with a family lawyer, invest some time in reviewing their professional biography. This can give you valuable insight into their areas of expertise, their experience, and their approach to legal matters. This due diligence aids in fostering a strong lawyer-client relationship. The right fit can make all the difference in your family law journey.
Once you’ve got a lawyer in mind, there are several ways you can book your initial consult:
- Give us a call, 1.800.466.1838
- Book online
We're happy to provide a free 20-minute consultation to discuss your needs. If the consultation extends beyond 20-minutes, you will be charged for the extra time at the lawyer's standard hourly rate.
When you book a consultation, either by phone or online, you will be asked to complete a standard client intake questionnaire. Here’s what you’ll need to provide:
- Basic Details - your full name and the names of any other parties involved, such as spouses or children. This information is necessary to complete a conflict check, as required by the Law Societies. To learn more about conflict checks, scroll down.
- Contact Information - your current address, email, and phone number.
- Work Details – your job title and workplace contact information.
- Relationship Status – if applicable, the date your relationship or marriage commenced, the date of separation, and current marital status.
- Legal Issue Summary – a brief description of your legal issue.
- ID Verification - the details of, and a copy of, your government-issued photo ID for identity verification, as required by the Law Societies.
- Credit Card Information – this serves as a secondary form of ID and as security for any charges should your consultation go beyond the initial free 20-minutes.
Prepare for your consultation
The initial consultation with a family lawyer is a critical step as it enables the lawyer to get a sense of your specific case while allowing you to assess if they are the right fit for your needs. The consultation can set the tone for the entirety of your legal proceedings. By offering a clear, comprehensive picture of your situation, the lawyer can provide more accurate advice and develop a strategy tailored to your circumstances. Remember, this isn't just about information gathering, it's about building a relationship of trust and understanding with the person who will be representing your interests.
Tips for the consultation structure
Here are some tips to help you prepare for your initial consult with a family lawyer at Crossroads Law:
1. Write down your questions - understandably, the complexities and emotional strain of family law proceedings can sometimes cause people to forget important questions they might have wanted to discuss during their initial consult. Therefore, we highly recommend jotting down your important questions ahead of time. This practice not only organizes your concerns in a streamlined manner but also ensures that you stay focused during the consultation. Such preparedness enables you to maximize the value of your time spent during the consultation, ensuring every point is addressed. Some of the questions that might make your list:
- 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?
2. Communication is key - when building a solicitor-client relationship, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and be honest.
3. Everything is confidential - lawyers are bound by privilege, meaning documents and communications related to your matter are private and confidential. Your lawyer is there to help you through this difficult process, and that help depends on you providing all the relevant information required to properly assess the legal context of your situation. Knowing that the information shared will remain confidential provides you with the confidence to share your story, thus enabling your lawyer to look at all the options and outcomes.
4. Prepare a Summary - be ready to tell your story in a clear and logical way, and with the relevant details. This includes important dates (when you started living with your partner, the date of separation, etc.) and any details concerning your children and their associated support. Additionally, gather all the paperwork important to your case: court documents, marriage certificate, tax documents, key text messages, employment contract, and if available, any recent letters from your ex-spouse’s lawyer. Often, clients feel information may be too embarrassing or not relevant enough to mention – push past these feelings. Share everything, a detail missed could be very important to your case.
5. Voice your concerns – family lawyers are experts in the law, so take every opportunity during your initial consultation to voice any concerns you may have. These concerns might include:
- 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
What to expect during your initial consultation
Your initial consultation serves as a platform to not only share the specifics of your case, but to also the lawyer’s compatibility with your needs.
Typically, the lawyer begins by outlining their areas of expertise and explaining their approach to handling family law cases. This introduction provides valuable insights into the lawyer's style of work, their experience, and how they may approach your specific situation.
Your role as the client is equally important during this initial consultation. This is your opportunity to present your case, outline your concerns, and share your expectations for the outcome. Be as detailed and honest as you can - the more information the lawyer has, the better they can represent your interests.
The consultation is also a good time to discuss the financial aspects of your legal journey. Your lawyer will explain any initial retainer fees and provide a clear understanding of how legal billing works. Where applicable, they can discuss alternative billing methods such as flat-rate services or legal coaching services. These alternatives could help mitigate legal fees while still providing you with the necessary professional legal expertise. This initial financial conversation aims to align the legal services with your budget, ensuring a comfortable and transparent lawyer-client relationship.