The Search for a Free Divorce Consultation in Orange County California
If you are considering a divorce, or if you have already decided that a divorce is right for you, you will need to discuss your case with a skilled attorney.
Divorce cases can be emotionally draining, stressful, and all around difficult. In California, a divorce cannot be finalized for at least six months, so it is important that you take the time to choose an attorney with whom you are comfortable working with, and one who you feel truly understands you and who will take the time to fight for your best interests, and the interests of your children throughout the duration of your divorce.
What is the “Free Initial Consultation” Offered by Divorce Attorneys in the OC?
When you’re searching for a divorce attorney in the OC, you may notice that most offer a “free initial consultation.” While it is important for you to get to know your potential divorce attorney, he or she may not even be present at the initial consultation. This can tell you a lot about the attorney with whom you are considering working for your divorce.
The average attorney will ask you, first thing, about your ability to pay their legal fees, and spend the initial consultation having you sign a retainer agreement and discussing fees.
A great attorney, one who will listen to your issues and guide you through your divorce with compassion, will demonstrate this, even in the free, initial consultation.
Experienced and successful attorneys may be busy, and will likely have a secretary, but will still take the time to speak with you directly, even before you have signed a retainer. In the event that an attorney is not available when you contact the office, a receptionist should make a phone appointment for you to speak directly to the attorney as soon as possible.
Whether over the phone or in person, the attorney should get to know you, your case or potential case and its current status, and basic information regarding the marriage, what you expect or in which areas you would like assistance, and your goals regarding the divorce. The attorney may have some questions for you in order to get to know you, and your case, better.
Only once the attorney has an idea of your current situation, should he or she mention potential fees. You can also discuss your budget, the potential time frame based on the information you’ve given, and how your fees may be covered by you or your spouse in a divorce.
Both you and your attorney should agree that you are a good fit for each other. You do not have to sign a retainer after your first meeting with the lawyer, and it is a good idea for you to speak to more than one attorney so you know you are choosing the right one for you.
What to Look for in an Orange County Divorce Lawyer
Before signing a retainer with any attorney, it is important to know what you’re looking for! These are some traits and qualities to look for during your initial phone call and your free divorce consultation with a potential divorce lawyer in the OC.
Divorce and Family Law Experience - First and foremost, make sure you’re considering attorneys who have experience with divorce and family law. A criminal defense attorney or an immigration attorney may not have the experience or understanding of the law that is needed to successfully get you through a divorce.
Communication - The attorney’s job is to understand legalese, and communicate it to you in a way that you understand, in addition to guiding you through the process and helping you make the best decisions for you and your children. A lawyer who simply reads you the law without any interpretation or guidance may be more frustrating to work with than it’s worth.
This also means that while you’re discussing attorney fees and budgets, the attorney should be clear rather than ambushing you with a complicated contract.
Consider Your Family Situation - Every divorce is unique, so make sure you consider what you will need from your divorce. If you have children, you will need an attorney who has experience working with children, working out child custody agreements, negotiating visitation schedules, and setting up child support orders.
If you and your spouse are considering mediation, you may need three different attorneys between the two of you: one who specializes in mediation, and two divorce attorneys for you to consult with the agreement created in mediation. You may also opt to only use one attorney for mediation, and save money by not consulting separate attorneys. Make sure you and your spouse agree on this, and stick to your agreement.
If you are a woman divorcing due to abuse or violence, you may need an attorney who specializes in women’s rights. If you are a father considering divorce, you may need an attorney who specializes in father’s rights in order to ensure your rights are protected.
Get to Know Your Attorney Personally - It may not seem like the most important part of hiring an attorney, but you will be spending a lot of time with your lawyer, sharing intimate details from your marriage with him or her, and depending on this attorney for one of the most important changes in your life. If you hire someone with whom you do not get along to help you through this stressful part of life, it could negatively affect the outcome of your divorce.
Know Your Budget - Always discuss attorney fees up front. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may be able to work out a payment plan. Discuss your budget with your lawyer, and ask which forms of payment he or she will accept. Credit cards, or payment plans may be an option, in addition to legally requiring your spouse or partner to foot the bill. Different attorneys charge fees differently based on different cases. Again, it is imperative that you understand how this works and that you have the information up front.
Consider Yanez & Associates for a Free Initial Consultation in the OC
If you are ready to start interviewing attorneys, contact the compassionate family law and divorce attorneys at Yanez & Associates. We offer free initial consultations to discuss your case.
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