What To Expect In Your First Family Law Appointment
Separating from your partner can be a challenging and emotional time, but getting in touch with a family lawyer at the earliest opportunity is beneficial.
We understand that making the initial call to a lawyer can be daunting. It takes courage, but once contact has been established and your first appointment set up, you can feel confident that you will obtain information about your rights, responsibilities and obligations and be able to plan a roadmap for the way forward.
Another reason that we strongly encourage those who have made a decision to separate or who are considering separating to get specialist advice early on, is that it will help to make informed and rational decisions.
Knowledge is power and when people understand the legal context and the various options open to them, it’s easier to manage expectations and resolve family law matters more efficiently.
So what can you expect at your first appointment with a family lawyer?
At West Family Lawyers, your first appointment is an opportunity to discuss your unique circumstances with an empathetic and caring professional who understands the considerable personal challenges of a separation. You’ll be talking to someone who has extensive experience in achieving the best outcomes and who will be able to guide and reassure you in terms of your rights and obligations.
Your appointment is an opportunity for you to provide details of your situation, in confidence, and for the lawyer to ask relevant questions, before explaining the various options available to you.
At your initial consultation, it is helpful to have as much information as possible on hand. Whilst there will always be an opportunity to provide relevant documents at a later stage, it is beneficial to come to the first meeting well-prepared.
For example, if your appointment is to discuss parenting matters, it’s a good idea to bring any documents or information relating to the children, including any parenting plans, child support assessments, relevant correspondence and certificates from counsellors or mediators.
If your appointment is to discuss financial or property matters, we encourage you to come prepared with relevant information that will help the lawyer understand your financial situation, such as payslips, tax returns, superannuation statements, investment documents, a personal balance sheet showing assets and liabilities (both joint and individual), recent bank statements, credit card and/or loan statements and recent valuations or appraisals of any properties.
Of course, you will likely be able to provide an overview from your mind, and there will be always be an opportunity for you to gather other pertinent documentation further down the track, but as we share your goal of getting as much value as possible from the initial meeting, it is worth your while being as prepared as possible.
Ahead of the meeting, you may also wish to write up a list of specific questions you’d like to ask. This can be a very useful reminder especially during those times when emotions are running high or you’re feeling nervous.
Rest assured, our practitioners are highly skilled with years of experience in family law in Perth and they are committed to making your first appointment as productive as possible. You will get practical insights and advice on the best way forward and you can be confident that West Family Lawyers will be on your side and working hard to find the optimum outcome for you.
Please note that this article is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice.
Mark is a senior lawyer with a broad experience in family law. His blend of business management experience and legal competencies is particularly beneficial to resolving complicated family law disputes concerning property and children.
Mark is settlement-focused and energetic about negotiating fair outcomes with a track record of brokering good results for his clients. He is part of a small team of trusted family lawyers in Perth practising in the Family Court of Western Australia.
Find out more about Mark here.