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"What should I do to prepare for my first meeting with a divorce family lawyer?"
1. Think about what you want to accomplish at this meeting: Do you want to find out what your rights are? Are you starting a case or defending a current case? Where do you want to wind up in the end? What are your expectations for the result of a lawsuit?
2. Best practice is to write down your questions so that you have a checklist of those things that are the most important for you to have answered.
3. Bring with any letters, emails, notes, documents, pleading judgments, court orders, income tax returns (for three years) financial documents, disclosure statements, balance sheets whatever is in writing that you think might be relevant to your case. Even if those written materials are not used at least you will have them there, at the meeting, should the need arise.
4. Take notes so that you will know what to follow up on later. You may want to ask for a second conversation with the family law lawyer.
5. Be truthful in telling your story to the lawyer. Don't be afraid to explain negative things or things that you may feel may change his or her opinion of you. You are protected by the attorney-client privilege. The lawyer is not allowed to tell anyone any part of your conversation without your consent.
6. Most lawyers will give you some free initial interview time if it is not unreasonable. If you have a very extensive fact situation or the questions you have involve complex questions of law you should expect to pay for advice. So find out what the charges will be up front.
7. Lawyers are criticized for giving general answers to specific questions. Answers such as "generally that is the case" are frequently heard in answer to specific questions. Do not expect the lawyer to be able to give you his or her best advice off the top of their head. Lawyers, just like doctors, many times need to consider the information you provided, to do legal research or even ask questions as follow-ups to your initial conversation in order to give you their most complete and useful answers to your questions. Thoughtful answers require time.
If you are in need of an Illinois family law attorney, contact the experienced legal professionals of Martoccio & Martoccio at 630-920-8855.