Preparing for your first meeting with a family lawyer

A woman sitting at a table signing a document

Whether you would like information regarding divorce proceedings or the opportunity to discuss child support and maintenance, seeking support from a qualified legal professional is the best way to receive the most honest and up-to-date advice.

However, when you’re discussing something as sensitive as family relationships, meeting a solicitor for the first time can be daunting. Here we share our top tips for preparing for the initial meeting to ensure you’re prepared and can put your mind at rest.

Think about what you want from the meeting

To really make the most of your initial meeting, it’s a good idea to spend time thinking about what you would like to take away from the exchange. For instance, are you hoping to discuss your options with regards to separating from a partner? Would you like to begin the dissolution of a civil partnership? Do you want to resolve the care arrangements for your children following separation? Are there financial issues that need to be addressed as a result of your relationship ending? Are you caring for a child who because of their circumstances is to remain in your care throughout their childhood?

Having a clear idea in your mind of the potential outcomes of the meeting will not only help you prepare to meet your solicitor, but will also help settle any concerns you may have about doing so.

Ask your solicitor what paperwork you need to provide

Failing to provide the paperwork could make it much more difficult for your solicitor to give you accurate advice tailored to your circumstances. It could also slow down the progress of your case.

Compile a list of questions you would like to ask

When you’re having a conversation with someone, especially when discussing a topic such as divorce, separation or child custody, it can be easy to become overwhelmed and forget to ask some of the questions you would like to have answered.

For this reason, it’s worth jotting down the questions you would like to discuss before your meeting on a notepad that you refer to during the meeting. Having a pen ready means you can also make notes throughout the meeting, giving you the chance to reflect afterwards.

Ask a trusted friend or family member to be there for you

Following your first meeting with a solicitor, you might appreciate the opportunity to discuss your circumstances with someone you trust. Whether this is a close friend, neighbour or family member, it may be a good idea to arrange to bring them to the meeting, if that would help, or to speak with them after your meeting.

Dealing with issues of family law can be stressful, so having someone to listen to you talk - or even just to take your mind off the proceedings - could be hugely beneficial.

If you, or someone you know, would like to have a confidential, compassionate discussion about a family law matter, please get in touch with us.

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