What to expect from your first meeting?

Going through a separation can be one of the most challenging times a person will experience.

It’s the start of a new chapter that often brings much uncertainty. Speaking with a lawyer as early as possible will allow you to become aware of how the law applies to your situation and make informed decisions. Every matter is different, and each person’s circumstances vary, there is no “one size fits all” solution to Family Law. Therefore getting correct advice that considers your history, your current situation and your future needs is imperative.

If you have decided to take the first step and seek advice from a family lawyer, we understand the process may feel daunting. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the first meeting you have with your family lawyer.

Come prepared

Come prepared to learn. We will provide you with a lot of information. Bring a notepad or a support person if you think they will help you remember. Try to be ready to tell us your story, what you want and don’t want, and how you’d like to move forward. However, also know that it is ok to not be sure. It is often a difficult time and that is where we can help you find some clarity.

Be organised

At the first meeting, your lawyer will ask you a series of questions and those questions will include trying to obtain a comprehensive list of the assets, liabilities and superannuation held by you and your partner both jointly and individually along with the estimated value of those things.  If you come prepared with as much information as possible you will get maximum value from your meeting. Click here for a checklist of documents to bring to your initial meeting.

Bring a list of questions

People are often overwhelmed with information and emotions during our first meeting that they forget the questions they had in mind to ask us. It’s a good idea to compile a list of specific questions that you want answered. Some questions you might like to ask are:

  • What are the steps in reaching an amicable resolution?
  • What should I do if ‘X’ or ‘Y’ happens?
  • Will I have to sell my house?
  • What is your experience in this area?
  • What will happen with our kids?
  • What happens if my partner doesn’t return our kids to me?
  • What is a timeframe for resolution?
  • What costs are involved?
  • What options are available to me?
Have an open mind

Often the options we suggest to you may be different to the ideas you may have considered. Have an open mind and try and consider all of the various resolution pathways that we propose. However, also remember, all solicitors must act on our client’s instructions. Our job is to advise you about your options and the effect of different courses of action. Your job is to tell us what path you wish to take.

Try not to be overwhelmed. Lean on us

We may not be able to solve all of your problems in the first meeting, but we will get you on the right track and provide you with a clear path towards resolving your matter as amicably and quickly as possible. We are here to help and provide the support you need. If you would like a free 15-minute consultation to discuss your situation, please call our Family Law team on 9523 5535.

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