Maximizing Your First Divorce Lawyer Consultation

Navigating the initial consultation with a divorce lawyer can be daunting, yet it’s a critical step in understanding your rights and options in the divorce process. Here’s a comprehensive guide to ensure you’re thoroughly prepared and can make the most out of this important meeting.

1. Set Clear Objectives

Before stepping into your divorce attorney’s office, it’s crucial to define what you hope to achieve from the consultation. Whether it’s gaining a clear understanding of your legal rights, discussing custody preferences, or figuring out financial separations, knowing your goals will help steer the conversation in the right direction.

2. Essential Documentation

Arriving with the necessary paperwork can significantly streamline the process. This includes tax returns, bank statements, mortgage information, and details of any shared assets or debts. Additionally, bring any relevant legal documents like prenuptial agreements, separation agreements, or court orders. Remember, these documents paint a clearer picture of your financial and family situation, aiding your lawyer in offering precise advice.

3. Prepare a Personal Summary

To save time and ensure no detail is overlooked, write down a summary of your marital situation. Include personal details like names, addresses, and social security numbers for you, your spouse, and any children. Note important dates like your marriage, separation, and any relevant employment information. This summary will help your lawyer grasp your situation more quickly.

4. Identify Key Concerns and Goals

Understanding your primary objectives and secondary concerns is vital. Whether it’s retaining your home, securing child custody, or managing financial assets, having a clear idea of your priorities assists your attorney in formulating a strategy that aligns with your goals.

5. Write Down Questions

Prepare a list of questions to ask your attorney. These might include queries about the lawyer’s experience, the expected timeline and costs, communication preferences, and potential outcomes of your case. Remember, no question is too trivial, and this is your chance to clarify any doubts you have about the legal process.

6. Understand Related Legal Matters

Each divorce case is unique, encompassing various aspects like child custody, support, property division, and possibly alimony. Ensure your lawyer explains the legal procedures for each relevant matter, offering clarity on what to expect in terms of process and timing.

7. Be Open and Honest

During the consultation, it’s imperative to be transparent about your circumstances and relationship dynamics. This includes discussing any challenges, such as instances of aggressive behavior or specific concerns about your children’s welfare. Complete honesty allows your attorney to assess your situation accurately and advise you effectively.

8. Listen to Available Options

Understand that not all divorce cases end up in court. Explore alternatives like mediation or collaborative law, which might be more suited to your situation. A good lawyer will explain all available avenues, helping you make an informed decision.

9. Evaluate the Lawyer’s Approach

The initial consultation is as much about evaluating the lawyer’s expertise and compatibility with your needs as it is about them understanding your case. Assess whether the lawyer’s approach aligns with your expectations and communication style. For instance, if you prefer email communication, ensure they can accommodate that.

10. Leave Informed, Not Overwhelmed

The goal of the first meeting is to leave more informed than when you entered. While you might not get all the answers, you should have a clearer understanding of the likely path ahead, the legal processes involved, and what your next steps should be.

Ready to move forward?

Remember, this initial consultation is a foundational step in your divorce process. Being well-prepared, clear about your objectives, and open in your communication will set the stage for a more manageable and effective legal journey. However, you should know that your attorney should give you a clear understanding of what your first meetings will look like. 

If you’re ready to move forward with your divorce, give our team a call. We have helped folks for years, in Tempe and the greater Phoenix area, start fresh and look forward to their future. 


We value each and every one of our clients, employees, friends, and neighbors. Together, we have a social responsibility as a community partner to take proactive measures to keep our community well and to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Our office will remain open during regular business hours. However, we are implementing some additional precautions to limit social interactions and personal proximity. Specifically, we will seek to conduct consultations, meetings, conferences through video teleconferencing or on the phone whenever possible. Should an in-person appointment be needed, then we will coordinate those on an appointment basis.

If you have questions about your case and the status of the court, then please call. Our Firm will continually monitor the status of the coronavirus, so we are prepared to resume normal operations as quickly as possible.

From all of us at The Peterson Law Firm, please stay well.