This article provides a brief overview of what you should expect during a consultation regarding your divorce case in Texas.
The purpose of the consultation is for your attorney to learn about the history of your marriage and facts specific to your divorce. This allows the attorney to identify specific legal issues likely to arise during your divorce. Your attorney can then provide you with a strategy for moving forward with your divorce as well as possible outcomes of the divorce.
Since you are attending a consultation for the purpose of seeking legal advice, your consultation is confidential. Under the relevant ethical and evidentiary rules, and with limited exceptions, everything you share with your attorney at the consultation is confidential and not subject to disclosure to third parties.
You should expect to fill out intake forms and other paperwork for your attorney prior to your consultation. This allows the law firm to run a conflict check on your spouse and any other potential parties to the case. It also provides the attorney you are meeting with some basic information about your marriage.
You should also bring other relevant documents to your consultation for your attorney to review. For example, if you were served with a petition for divorce, then you should bring a copy of that petition with you to the consultation. Another example would be if you have a marital property agreement. You should bring that type of document with you as well.
Learning About Your Marriage
A significant portion of the consultation will be spent discussing the history of your marriage. This is critical to allowing the attorney that you meet with to fully identify all of the issues in your case. You should be open and honest with the attorney, even if it requires disclosure of otherwise embarrassing information.
Remember – the consultation is confidential. If you do not answer the attorney’s questions honestly and completely, then the advice you receive may not be correct for your situation.
Explaining the Substantive Law
After your attorney learns more about your marriage, the attorney can identify the legal issues that will arise in your case. Your attorney can then explain the substantive law on each of those issues and explain how the specific facts of your marriage will apply. From this, you should have an idea of a range of potential outcomes in the case should it go to trial.
Common issues in many divorces include property division, debts, child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance.
Explaining the Divorce Process
After you learn about the substantive law governing your divorce, the attorney will also explain the divorce process. This involves walking you through each step of a divorce from filing the petition to a signed final decree of divorce. You will learn about each important stage of the divorce process and a timeline for how you can expect your case to proceed.
After the attorney learns about your marriage and explains the substantive law governing your divorce case as well as the divorce process, the attorney will be ready to discuss fees with you. This includes not only a discussion of the law firm’s billing rates, but also any retainer requirements, how retainers are handled by the firm, and how billing is conducted if you decide to hire the law firm.
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