How to Prepare for Your First Consultation With a Divorce Lawyer

Consultation with a divorce lawyer

We understand that deciding to meet with a divorce attorney for the first time is a huge step. You have probably been through other options at length, trying to make your marriage work. Now that you have decided divorce is the best option, the next step is to prepare well for your initial divorce consultation.

Preparing for your first meeting involves both practical and emotional factors. The more information you can provide the divorce lawyer, the better. At the same time, emotions are running high, and you may have legitimate concerns about your children and finances.

We are going to take a deep dive into how to prepare for a successful first meeting to get the divorce process off to the best start. We will explore how to prepare yourself and your documentation so you can come to the meeting prepared and confident.


Prepare Yourself for the Initial Conversation

There is no right or wrong way to feel about the end of a marriage. Emotions range from huge relief to lingering emotional trauma. Divorce lawyers understand well that everyone is unique, and they are not here to judge you for how you feel.

However, preparing mentally and emotionally can ensure you get the most out of your first meeting. 


Preparing mentally 

Your divorce consultation may involve opening up to a stranger about your most personal troubles. Doing so is hard for many people, but with good preparation, it can be easier than you might expect. 

A few tips that could help include:


  • Talking it through with a friend: Choose a trusted friend who is a calming influence on you. Tell him or her that you need to get everything out. Explain to that friend exactly how you feel and what you want the lawyer to know. Your friend can help you think of points you want to share that you never considered.


  • Make notes: Write down everything that comes into your mind as far as what you want your divorce attorney to know. 


  • Consider the outcome you want: Divorce lawyers deal with a range of clients who all want different things from their divorces. So it’s important to have your goal in mind when you speak to your divorce lawyer, so he or she can provide you with the right divorce advice.


You should be ready to talk about how much your divorce may cost. Reputable divorce lawyers are happy to discuss fees, costs, and how they handle billing. They may recommend mediation, which could reduce costs.


Preparing emotionally

First of all, remember that it is totally normal and acceptable to feel emotional during this meeting. Remember you are talking to an ally – a divorce attorney is there to represent your best interests. He or she is on your side, and when the law firm takes on your case, your legal team will fight hard to get the best result for you. Additionally, your lawyer will not share your confidential information. 

At your first meeting, you are entering a safe space. Divorce lawyers are compassionate and empathetic. They know what you are going through and have successfully helped many others in the same situation. 


Bringing a friend for support

Your first consultation with a divorce attorney may be the first time you have ever set foot in a lawyer’s office. Divorce lawyers understand how intimidating this can be and will do everything they can to make you comfortable so you can open up and explain your situation. However, you may wonder whether bringing a friend or family member along for moral support would help.


If you feel you need to, you can bring someone else with you. However, in the long run, this may not always be the best option. 

A few points to consider include:


  • Embarrassment factor: When you meet with a divorce attorney, you need to fully open up about what happened in your marriage. They have heard it all before, and everything you say will remain strictly confidential. However, you may not feel able to do this if you have a friend or family member present. When you are around someone who knows your spouse personally, you may feel uneasy discussing private matters (such as infidelity or domestic violence) in front of that person.


  • He or she may become your advocate: No doubt, the friend or family member you bring with you will feel your pain and want to support you fully. This could lead to him or her speaking on your behalf. While this is done with the best of intentions, the divorce attorney needs to hear your account of the situation. 


  • Legal considerations: In Utah, communications between a divorce lawyer and his or her client are privileged. This means that your attorney cannot divulge this information to a third party without your informed consent. However, if you choose to include a third party, you can waive these rights. The legal standard is whether the person’s presence is necessary under the circumstances. 


It is clear that bringing a friend or family member along may be more complicated than it appears. You might call the law firm ahead of time to discuss this option so that the complications do not distract attention from your divorce consultation.


Prepare Documentary Evidence

For most people seeking a divorce, the most pressing legal matters are child custody and their finances. No matter what you are occupied with, you should discuss your utmost concerns during your consultation with a divorce lawyer. Good preparation can help the divorce attorney understand your current situation and your goals.


Child custody arrangements

Starting with your very first consultation with a divorce lawyer, be upfront about your expectations for child custody. Will you seek a 50-50 schedule, or are there factors that make this impractical? Do you have concerns about your former spouse’s ability to parent your child or children alone?

It may be painful to discuss the details of your marriage, but be open about protective orders or injunctions currently or previously in place against your spouse. All such details will enable your divorce attorney to build a clear picture of your specific situation so he or she can provide the most suitable divorce advice.


Marital assets

Utah law requires that marital assets be split equitably. This means fairly divided, not necessarily evenly divided. 

Marital assets could include:


  • Marital home
  • Retirement funds
  • Trust
  • Long-term assets
  • Investments
  • Jointly-owned businesses


Gather relevant documents related to these assets before your initial consultation. This could include mortgage documents, bank statements, tax returns, and more. 

However, some assets are considered non-marital property. These could include gifts or inheritances received by one spouse during the marriage. Things can get complicated if these assets have been combined with marital property. It is best to discuss all your assets with your divorce lawyer to see which ones need to be taken into account.


Marital debts

If you both agree on dividing debts, your divorce decree will include details of how these are to be divided. Bringing all your financial records to your first meeting can help your divorce attorney assess your position and begin to plan the best way forward.


Spousal support

Alimony, also called spousal support, is money one party pays the other as support. If you require spousal support, let your lawyer know during your first consultation. You may be entitled to it while separated, throughout the divorce process, and after your divorce is final. 

However, alimony payments are awarded by the court – and therefore can’t be guaranteed in advance. In Utah, the burden of proof falls on the party seeking spousal support. 

To prepare evidence to support a claim for alimony from your spouse, try to provide the following evidence:


  • Your financial condition
  • Your earning capacity
  • Your spouse’s ability to provide support
  • Marriage certificate (as evidence for the length of the marriage)
  • Child custody arrangements
  • Any business relationship with your spouse
  • Any contributions you made to your spouse’s education


Additionally, you will likely be asked to provide evidence of your monthly outgoings. This will include rent or mortgage payments, utilities, retirement contributions, taxes, and other household expenses. Gathering this evidence could help your lawyer build a strong case for spousal support and secure a favorable decision from the court.


Why You Should Schedule a Divorce Consultation With Brown Family Law

At Brown Family Law, we understand that divorce proceedings can be overwhelming. You are trying to adjust to your changed circumstances, protect and support your children, and give yourself the best chance of a favorable outcome. Unlike other firms, we prioritize consistent communication and only focus on family law to ensure we can fight for your best possible results. 


The compassionate yet tenacious divorce lawyers at Brown Family Law are here to support you from the first consultation until your divorce is settled. We want to make the process as smooth as possible, maximizing your time with your kids. We aim to conclude the divorce process in 3 to 6 months.


Call Brown Family Law at any time of the day or night at 801-685-9999 to speak to a live representative. Alternatively, fill out our online form, and we will call you back to arrange a first consultation.

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Overall from start to finish the best experience to have dealing with a time that is difficult.Andrew Christensen is very professional and out going to make this situation the best it could be and worked hard to make sure the divorce was fair for me.Over all, this firm really cares and treats you as a family or friend and just not a client, down to Marco Brown taking time to see how I was doing and offer to help in any way possible during my divorce while I was there for my first initial meeting.I would highly recommend anyone that has to go through a divorce to really reach out to the Brown Family Law firm and see for your self the experience I was able to receive from a top notch law firm.
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My attorney Amy Pomeroy and assistant Melanie and Dani are awesome! It’s an easy case but due to the opposite party was failed to respond, the process went much longer than we expect. During the process Amy gets the necessary job done as quick as she can. The assistants made the most documentation jobs done in a reasonable time. I will get phone call or message to communicate for the status, what’s the next step, what should I expect. In the end, it’s a huge win. So I definitely recommend Brown Family Law. They are professional and handle the case very well.
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Dani excelled as a paralegal, providing crucial support with exceptional skills!
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I highly recommend Nathaniel and his team. They listened to me, navigated me, educated me, and always called when they said they would. Going through a divorce was very hard but they helped me get through it and showed compassion the whole time.
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