Preparing for an initial consultation with one of a family law lawyer may feel overwhelming and intimidating. At Jones Divorce and Family Law, our Calgary family law lawyers understand that you are going through one of the biggest life events you will ever face, and we strive to ensure that you feel empowered to make informed legal decisions. Below is an outline of how to best prepare for your initial consultation with a family law lawyer in Calgary.
Retaining One of Our Calgary Family Law Lawyers
The first step in retaining legal counsel is selecting a family law lawyer for an initial consultation. With so many different types of law and lawyers practicing within family law, it is a good idea to do your research and look at reviews online or ask around for referrals. As Calgary is a relatively small city, if you have a used a lawyer for another matter in the past, even for something such as real estate, they may be able to provide names of reputable family law lawyers in Calgary. When it comes to selecting a family law lawyer, don’t be shy! Call around to a few different firms to find out hourly rates and availability. A friendly receptionist will tell you a lot about the firm’s overall professionalism and will give you a good indication of the type of people who will be representing you.
What to Bring to Your Initial Consultation with a Family Lawyer
What you need to bring to the initial consultation with one of our Calgary family law lawyers will vary depending on your unique situation and what exactly you are looking for from your family law lawyer. For example, a client seeking an adoption will have different needs than a client initiating divorce proceedings. The most typical initial consultation our Calgary family law lawyers deal with is the divorce process so we will provide tips based on this situation. However, always feel free to ask the receptionist or the lawyer’s legal assistant if you have any specific questions about what to bring. As well, when in doubt – bring it – if your lawyer doesn’t believe it is relevant, they will let you know and there is no harm in being over prepared.
- Make and bring a list of all your assets and liabilities;
- Bring any important or urgent financial information;
- For example: if your house is listed for sale or just sold, or if your partner is dissipating funds from a certain account bring a statement to show these changes;
- Note: Your family law lawyer will ask you to collect complete financial disclosure and they will provide a list of everything they need so don’t worry about all your accounts at this time – just anything urgent;
- Your Pre-Nuptial Agreement or Cohabitation Agreement, if relevant;
- If this is your second marriage, bring your Divorce Judgment from your previous divorce; and
- You will eventually need your original marriage certificate so if you need to order a new one, it’s a good idea to do this now.
Prepare a List of Issues to Be Resolved
Consider any urgent issues that need to be addressed on a preliminary basis. This may include child or spousal support, a parenting plan and/or what you will do with the house. Your lawyer can assist you by prioritizing these matters to ensure your well-being during the separation period. As well, if you and your partner have agreed on certain issues or resolution processes, ensure you advise your legal counsel so that they can put these agreements into action. The more you and your spouse are able to agree to on your own, the lower your legal fees will be and the less conflict you will encounter during this process.