How To Prepare To Meet With Your Divorce Lawyer

If you’re looking for a divorce lawyer, you may be looking to make sure you have the right information at your fingertips to help you get through the process or you may be involved in a more complex divorce.  Regardless of why exactly you need a lawyer, it’s important that you find the right one for you. Most people do this by getting the name to an attorney from someone they know or by shopping around online and looking at reviews.

That initial contact with an attorney can be scary but empowering in many ways.  The majority of people going through a divorce have never had to contact an attorney before and do not know what to expect.  Our firm has every person go through an intake process so we can get some background information from you to get a feel for how you are as a person and what’s going on in your case so we can make sure it’s a case we can help you with.  After that intake, you’ll likely either talk to an attorney for a few minutes so the attorney can make the final decision on whether we will take on your case or you could schedule a one-hour legal consult to go into more depth about the legal issues you’re facing in your particular case.  Once you sign on with our firm, you will be scheduled for an initial strategy session with your attorney.

Regardless of whether you’re going through an intake, a legal consult, or a strategy session, it is important to be prepared to make the best first impression and to make the most out of your first interaction.  Although sometimes that initial call may be out of the blue because you just unexpectedly got served, most people have had time to think about things a bit.  While doing this thinking, you should make a list of what you think would be fair in your situation, the things that you might like to get but would be willing to part with, what you believe your non-negotiables are, and what you would like to see life post-divorce to look like. Going into the initial discussion will help give the attorney a good idea about what’s important to you and what might be the best strategy to take to move your case forward to help you reach your goals.

If you are not aware of your rights and you believe you are moving toward a divorce, retaining an attorney to help you strategize and make sure you are prepared if and when a divorce happens, initial legal consultation with an experienced family law attorney like ours could definitely help bring you clarity.

Below are a few tips that could help with your initial divorce discussions with the attorney.

Be Prepared to Discuss Your Life with a Stranger

Within no time, you will have a close relationship with your attorney.  You should feel very comfortable with your attorney after your first strategy session, but during that first discussion, you’re still building a relationship and a level of trust.  That goes for both you and your attorney.  We like to represent clients who we really like and believe in, so we are working on that on our end as well.  You are the one bringing the emotions into the process though and we recognize that.  It can be hard to discuss why and how your marriage broke down, the struggles you’ve faced with your spouse and your children, the fears you may have as life is changing, and 101 other things that you might otherwise only tell extremely close friends.  These types of conversations and the emotions that people feel while having them have caught a number of people off guard.  No matter how you’re feeling during that first consult, don’t worry – it’s normal.  We’ve seen and heard it all and, because our attorneys and staff have first-hand knowledge with family law-related issues, we completely empathize with you.

Discuss your Desires

Going into your initial consultation with your attorney, you should have a general idea of what you want, even if you do not know what the law is likely to give you.  The lawyer will help you work your way through what you want in relation to what the law is.  Your attorney will help you build realistic expectations based on what you want.  During your initial legal consult or strategy session, your lawyer will likely ask you about your spouse and what his or her posture is moving forward to divorce to help you figure out the best way go through the process of divorce.

Prepare a Wish List

You are the only person who really knows what you want, so it is essential to make to list out your wishes so you can convey this information properly to your lawyer. Ask yourself if you want to stay in your home if possible or start fresh, whether having liquid assets or retirement funds might be more important to you, what type of parenting plan you would like or could see working, where you are financially and where you need to be to support yourself and your kids, as well as with the many other areas in which your life is changing.

Even if you don’t know exactly what you want, having given some thought and having a general baseline of your deal breakers for your divorce can give an attorney somewhere to start with. There are many areas in divorce where an issue generally turns out a certain way (like child support being run according to Massachusetts’ Child Support Guidelines or how property is divided), but every case is different and our attorneys are going to work with you to get you the result that is most important for you not just for everyone else.

List out any Relevant Information

Some attorneys send their clients a questionnaire to fill out before the initial consultation to assess information like income, prenuptial agreements, and tax returns. We get some of this information during your initial intake. However, it is always beneficial to compile relevant information and documentation so your attorney can have a clear understanding of where you are coming from.

Bring your tax returns, payroll information, retirement fund statements, bank statements, prenups or postnups (if you have one), and any legal documents related to your marriage (like a marriage certificate or a restraining order or anything else). This helps your attorney get a better grasp of the financial path your divorce must take. The larger the assets shared between you and your partner, the more complex your divorce could become but a knowledgeable attorney knows to prepare for such divorces.

Bring a List of your Questions

While your divorce attorney has experience with many divorce cases, this may be your first time going through the legal process of divorce. By writing down the questions you have, such as how much your divorce may cost, the approach your attorney has for divorce proceedings, and how easy or difficult it is to get what you are asking for within your legal jurisdiction, you will ensure you get those types of questions answered while you’re with your attorney rather than forgetting them and having to ask again later.  This will help you get a better understanding of your legal situation.

Although we like to think we have a good idea of what you will want once we get to know you or what you understand, we are not mind-readers.  If you do not ask, we might not know that you need something explained. By writing down any and all questions you have regarding your life during and after divorce, an attorney could not only quell your worries but help you chart a path forward that reflects your objectives that focuses on you and your children specifically.


Ultimately, a knowledgeable attorney is there to simplify your divorce, not complicate it. Your attorney will be your guide, your advocate, and your soundboard. Your initial consultation with an attorney could help you comprehend the process and understand your legal rights. You should be able to leave your initial consultation feeling like your attorney not only understands your situation but has a rough framework for how to best serve you in this trying process.

The attorneys at O’Connor Family Law understand the complexities and nuances that come with divorcing your partner. Our attorneys could ensure you understand what will happen before, during, and after your divorce, they also have the drive to fight for the things you hold most dear. Call today to schedule an intake for your divorce so we can help you determine what the best path is for you.

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