WHY SHOULD I PAY FOR A DIVORCE CONSULTATION WHEN I CAN GET ONE FOR FREE?
If it’s for free, it’s for me, right?!?
Not always. When shopping for a divorce lawyer, there are two options. Some offer free consultations. Others charge a fee.
So what’s the difference between paid and free consultations besides the obvious fact that you pay for one and not the other?
The short answer is: the extent of information and guidance you receive.
What’s your goal for this meeting?
If your goal is to receive a comprehensive analysis and obtain actionable information that’ll help you make an educated decision about how to proceed, investing in a consultation may be the better option. A better title for this type of meeting is an “assessment.” The lawyer will have a better understanding of your issues and needs, and therefore, you’ll receive more customized information and guidance.
Certainly, there are circumstances that don’t require investment in a professional analysis. For example, if you’ve been married for less than a year, never lived together before marriage, own no property together and have no children, don’t bother paying for an assessment. Move toward an uncontested divorce.
However, unfortunately, most divorces aren’t that simple. As the length of the marriage increases, the number and value of assets increase, and if children are involved, the stakes become higher. And the more there is on the line, the more important it is to receive a more comprehensive analysis up front.
What are the key issues? How are these usually handled? What are your options? What are the potential costs? What should you be doing now? How can you put yourself in a better position to maximize your chances of attaining your goals? Should you file now or wait?
These are all questions that are more thoroughly answered during a comprehensive assessment, which is what you generally receive when you pay for a “consultation.” Assessments are usually about an hour long, you fully explain your circumstances, key issues are addressed in detail, and you receive a full analysis of your legal issues, advice on how to proceed, and answers to your questions.
The other important benefit of investing in an assessment is that you spend more time and exchange more information with the attorney, which puts you in a better position to assess whether this is an individual you trust to handle your case.
Free consultations on the other hand are usually much shorter, the attorney will give you a general explanation of how divorce works, and many who offer free consultations spend much of the time trying to convince you to sign up.
Of course, these are generalizations. There may be free consultations during which you’ll receive quality information, and on the other hand, you may invest in assessment that provides a poor return on your investment. But these outliers can be avoided by doing research up front by asking friends and other professionals and reading online reviews about others’ experiences with these attorneys.
The bottom line is that most people facing divorce are in a state of uncertainty and fear. The greatest need during that time is for reliable and actionable information: they need answers, they need advice, they need guidance. And investing in an assessment significantly increases your odds of receiving those at the outset.
If you need a comprehensive assessment to have your questions answered and receive guidance on your family law issue, feel free to contact us.
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