What to Expect from a Family Lawyer When Starting Divorce Proceedings
The process of going through separation and divorce is emotionally and financially difficult. When a marriage breaks down, there are a lot of uncertainties. Hiring a family lawyer to provide divorce law services will greatly reduce stress and uncertainty. The Northwest Calgary family lawyer at Dukeshire Law Office has been providing divorce law services to clients since 1977, protecting her client’s rights, providing clear legal advice, and guiding clients through the divorce process. Some people feel apprehensive about taking the first step of calling a family lawyer to start divorce proceedings. This post is intended to take some of the uncertainty out of the equation by explaining what to expect from a family lawyer at the initial meeting to discuss starting divorce proceedings.
What to expect from a family lawyer at the initial meeting
Once you have called to arrange a meeting with a family lawyer to discuss your family law legal needs, there are certain things you can expect at the initial consultation. The first meeting is an opportunity for you to explain your concerns and the issues that need to be addressed. It is also an important opportunity for the lawyer to gather the necessary information to give you legal advice and to provide you with an opinion on your legal matters. In addition to full legal names and birthdates of your spouse and children (if any), the lawyer will ask for information such as when you began living together, when you got married, when you separated, and where you, your ex, and your children are currently living. Your family lawyer will also ask for information about family property and debt (such as when it was acquired, its approximate value then and now, etc.). You may also be asked whether there was any violence or abuse in the relationship. If you have children, you will also discuss what arrangements are in place for the children since separation.
What might you need to bring to the initial meeting with a family lawyer?
Your lawyer may also ask you to bring documents to the initial consultation, for example:
• Financial documentation such as recent pay stubs, Income Tax Returns and/or Notices of Assessment;
• Documents detailing family property and family debt;
• Any agreements you have previously made (e.g., a Prenuptial Agreement, a Cohabitation Agreement, or a Marriage Contract);
• Copies of any existing Orders dealing with your family law issues; and
• Materials you have been served with if your ex has already started court proceedings.
Don’t fret if you don’t have these documents at the first meeting. In many cases, it is not known until after the discussions at the initial consultation what documents and information are needed, and the family lawyer will guide you on what needs to be gathered.
Why does a family lawyer need all of this information?
The information is essential for your family lawyer to provide you with an opinion on all issues that arise in your matter and legal advice on how best to proceed with respect to each issue. The date of marriage and date of separation, for example, are important to the division of property and debt. Dates are also important to determining limitation periods and setting the timeline for when you can apply for a divorce. Information about violence, abuse, or manipulation in the relationship will help your family lawyer decide whether negotiation, mediation or collaborative options are appropriate. If you have children, the lawyer will need information about where the children live and how decisions are made about them to provide you with legal advice on issues pertaining to custody, access, and parenting.
What happens after the initial consultation with the family lawyer?
If after the first meeting you decide to retain the family lawyer to represent you, the next steps will depend on your needs and what issues are at stake. From the information exchanged at the initial consultation, your family lawyer will formulate a strategy for resolving your family law matters and put it into place. Depending on your circumstances, your family lawyer may initiate court proceedings, guide you through alternative dispute resolution options, or request further financial documentation from your former partner or their lawyer on your behalf. It can be an immense relief to have a family lawyer on your side to advocate for you and manage your case, including negotiating with your former partner or their lawyer on your behalf.
Contact Dukeshire Law Office for divorce law services in Northwest Calgary
If you are searching for divorce law services from a northwest Calgary family lawyer, choose Dukeshire Law Office. With years of experience and a deep commitment to your best interests, Dukeshire Law Office offers a full range of legal services in matters pertaining to family law. Our family lawyer, Joy Dukeshire, has been providing divorce law services in NW Calgary since 1977 and prides herself on giving her clients personalized guidance to sort through the issues and find ideal solutions. Call 403-286-7008 today to schedule your initial consultation with our family lawyer in Northwest Calgary.