Save time and money: How to get the most out of your legal consultation


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  (WOTV) -Making an appointment for a consultation with an attorney can be intimidating.  You want to get the most out of your time and not forget anything that you need to know.  You also want to get a feel for whether or not this is the person you want to represent you in court so being organized helps you to stay focused, not forget anything and leaves you time to hear how they would handle your case.

The first thing you want to do is sit down and make a list of all the questions you would like to have answered.  There are no dumb questions, especially if you are looking for a family law attorney for a divorce.  It’s scary and your life is on the line as well as the future of your family so write those questions down so you are sure to get them answered.

Make a list of the the things you are most concerned about and absolutely must have as a goal for your case.  For example, physical custody of your children, retaining your home, spousal support to help you financially get on your feet.  Discuss these with the attorney and ask whether or not they are realistic and what your chances are of achieving your goals.  Remember, if you and your spouse cannot agree the court will agree for you and your attorney will do their best to help you get what you want, but they need to clearly know what that is.

Bring all pertinent documents such as financial accounts, real estate documents, pension and investment accounts, mortgage and loan documents.  Anything that tells what you own, whose name it is in and any debts you have is important.  Make copies, don’t bring originals or you will be charged copy fees and staff time for copying them for you.

Nearly all attorneys work on a retainer system.  That means they will tell you what their firm charges as a retainer before you decide to hire them.  Retainers are usually based on how complicated your case appears to be. The retainer is worked off at an hourly rate and is explained in the retainer agreement that you will sign upon hiring them.  No attorney will file your case and begin work until the retainer is paid so to save yourself an extra trip bring your checkbook or credit card to your consultation.   That way once you make the decision to hire the attorney they can begin immediately to file and work on your case.

Disclaimer: Nothing hearin constitutes legal advice.

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