ost people who enter a divorce lawyer’s office have never met with a lawyer before. And if they have, it has typically been to handle something simple, such as the preparation of a will. Finding the right lawyer can be daunting. Referrals often come from word of mouth. Yet divorce lawyers are entrusted with some of the most important issues a parent or spouse will ever encounter. Here, we will discuss some of the things to expect when hiring a divorce lawyer.

Contacting the Lawyer. When it comes to hiring your lawyer, the first step is to contact that lawyer’s office and schedule an appointment. The initial appointment, called a “consultation,” is usually scheduled by an assistant. It is normal for the assistant to get basic information, such as your name, phone number, and the name of the opposing party. Like many professionals, lawyers keep busy schedules, and it may be at least a few days before the lawyer is available to meet with you.

The initial consultation. Most lawyers will schedule an initial meeting with you and will charge a fee for this consultation. This is an opportunity to meet and speak with the lawyer for the first time. The lawyer will get basic information from you about your case. The lawyer can also provide some basic advice about what you may need during your divorce. The lawyer can assess how complicated your case may be. There is no requirement that you hire a lawyer the day of the initial consultation.

Is this a good attorney-client fit? After the initial consultation, you may wish to meet with other lawyers or take a few days to consider whether to hire the attorney you have met. This is a very normal part of the process, especially since it is such an important decision. Unless there is a legal emergency, it is normal to take a few days to decide whether to hire the lawyer. Some people wish to meet with the lawyer a second time before hiring the lawyer, which is also fairly common.

Hiring your lawyer. After meeting the lawyer, the lawyer will generally quote a retainer or deposit amount to hire them. The lawyer will require you to make the deposit and sign a contract for legal services before beginning work on your case. Signing this contract ensures that you and the lawyer are in a contractual relationship. The contract also sets out the terms of your representation.

Here at Thompson Salinas Londergan, LLP, we find that the initial consultation is often a very difficult time for many clients. We are here to answer your questions and guide you through the next steps in the divorce process.

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