Trevor Owen and Kara-Lynne Chapman will gladly meet with potential new clients to answer their questions regarding Family Law, to provide information on their options, and to discuss and plan the next steps to be taken. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your Family Law consultation:
1. First, relax! Many potential new clients are nervous when they first arrive and this is completely natural; after all, most people have never met with a lawyer before. We’ve seen people cry (we’re well stocked with Kleenex for a reason). We’ve heard people swear (it’s okay, Kara does it too). Don’t be embarrassed to show honest emotions. We practice Family Law because we want to help people. Emotions are part and parcel to that; don’t apologize for it.
2. Write down your most pressing questions prior to arriving at the office. There is a lot of information exchanged during the hour and it is easy to forget something. Having a list will ensure that you get answers to these questions.
3. Bring some paper and a pen to take notes. In some cases you will be receiving a crash course in Family Law; this is overwhelming and you are bound to forget some of the details. If you don’t understand something, ask. If you want us to repeat a point, ask.
4. We are bound by confidentiality even in the context of a consultation. Providing all the relevant facts allows us to better understand the situation and provide the most accurate advice to you. We understand that some details are very personal and that you aren’t comfortable sharing them but often these are the most important facts. Keep in mind that we have over 30 years’ combined experience; we’ve heard and seen a lot; we don’t judge and it’s hard to shock us.
5. Having said that, though, do not feel that you have to bring a written account of your relationship. If you wish to write one out to help you recall the details, feel free. However, we often don’t read these histories during the consultation as the most relevant information comes out during our discussion with you.
6. Please do bring any Separation Agreements, Marriage Contracts, or court Orders/documents that you have. Often we need to review the wording of these documents in order to be able to advise you properly.
7. Know that you will not be faced with a high-pressured sales pitch at the end of your consultation. You are not required to retain our office. Note, though, that we are also not required to take you on as our client. View the consultation as a meet and greet; a time for us to get to know each other, discuss the concerns to be resolved, and decide whether we are a good fit for each other.
8. Finally, if you know you will be late or will not be able to make your appointment, please give us a quick call or email. Our time is our most valuable commodity and we appreciate knowing in advance if you cannot make your appointment as we can then free that time up for other clients. We are happy to reschedule the consultation to a more convenient time (we understand; separation is a hugely emotional journey and sometimes people just aren’t ready to see a lawyer yet).