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Help when you need it most.
We are ready at Feldstein Family Law Group to help you through this most difficult time in your life. We understand that you may be hurt, angry and confused. Requesting a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers is the first step in helping you through your family law crisis and to protecting your rights.
The end of your marriage and the beginning of the divorce process can be a scary and confusing time. Spouses contemplating separation may wonder how they should proceed. Often, it can help to meet with a lawyer who can provide you with information regarding your situation. Here is what to expect at an initial consultation with your lawyer:
At Feldstein Family Law Group, initial consultations are generally one hour in length. While consultations are free, some conditions do apply. On the day of your appointment, you will be asked to fill out an intake form which provides your lawyer with the information necessary to offer you informed and sound advice. The process of filling out the intake form will be made easier if, prior to attending the meeting, you are able to gather the following information:
- Contact information for both you and your spouse
- Date of marriage/cohabitation/separation
- The existence of any previous spouses and the name of these spouses
- The existence of any orders/agreements with respect to your matter
- The occupation and income of both you and your spouse
- The date of prior divorces/divorce certificates
- The names and birthdates of any children from the current or prior relationships or any other dependents
- The existence of any marriage/cohabitation contracts (oral or written)
- The approximate value of the matrimonial home, the names on title, and any debts secured against the home/encumbrances (mortgages, liens, etc.) on the home
- The value of the mortgage against the matrimonial home
- The value and titleholders of any other major assets (such as vehicles, RESPs, pensions, life insurance)
- Debts owed both jointly or individually by either you or your spouse
- Whether either spouse received an inheritance, substantial gift (from a non-spouse), the amount of the gift, or is owed any other money personally
- If known, the assets and debts of each spouse on the date of marriage
Once the intake form has been filled out, you will sit down with a lawyer and discuss the issues at hand. The lawyer will outline how the initial consultation will proceed and what lawyer and client can hope to accomplish during the meeting.
The lawyer’s goals in an initial meeting are to gather information from the client, get a solid hold of the issues, and provide the client with enough information for them to determine whether they need a lawyer and what their next steps might be.
Once the lawyer has outlined the goals of an initial consultation, lawyer and client, together, will go over the intake form, ensuring that as much information as possible is filled in. The lawyer will generally ask the client about their own goals and expectations, as to tailor his/her approach as much as possible. Once the lawyer has a firm grasp on the situation, he/she will outline the issues he/she sees as relevant in your case, and address any concerns you have mentioned. At this stage, a lawyer generally will not have enough information to give you specific advice. Rather, the lawyer will outline what he/she sees as the long-term legal issues, and a rough plan to deal with these issues.
The lawyer will break down the legal issues at hand and explain how the law applies in your case. Based on the facts of your case and your goals, the lawyer will then describe the ways in which you may proceed. This may include working towards a settlement agreement, or in certain cases, getting a court order. In some instances it may appear that a couple, although experiencing serious relationship discord, are not truly ready for separation. The lawyer will likely ask whether you and your spouse have sought out counseling and if not, whether you think that may be an option. The lawyer may also discuss potential process options, including mediation, collaborative family law or arbitration, depending on the facts of your case.
Once the lawyer has outlined and explained the legal issues in your case, you and your lawyer will discuss potential next steps. The lawyer will also afford you the opportunity to ask any questions not yet addressed in the meeting. Lawyer and client will then discuss different retainer agreements depending on the complexity of the case, and inform you of his/her hourly rate.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the client may retain the lawyer or choose to think about it further and not retain the lawyer at that time. If you are considering divorce and think you may benefit from an initial consultation, please feel free to book an appointment.