What to Expect During a Consultation with a Divorce Lawyer

August 23, 2023

Taking the first step towards legal representation during a divorce can be daunting. A phone consultation with a divorce lawyer offers a valuable opportunity to explore your options, assess compatibility, and gain preliminary insights into the legal process. However, it’s important to set realistic expectations and understand the limitations of a consultation with a divorce lawyer.

What to Expect During a Divorce Lawyer Phone Consultation

  1. Initial Screening: Your call might be answered by the attorney’s staff, such as a paralegal or case manager. Whoever answers the phone will gather basic information about your situation. They may offer to set an appointment. This helps the attorney understand your needs and determine if your case aligns with their practice areas. Some attorneys charge for a consultation; others do not.

  2. Fee Discussion: The attorney will likely discuss their fee structure. It might involve a retainer fee (an upfront deposit) and any applicable filing fees. If they offer a flat fee, they should clarify what services are covered. They may also explain their billing practices, payment methods, and how to make the retainer deposit.

  3. Case Assessment: The attorney will inquire about your specific circumstances. This includes your financial situation, assets, debts, and any children involved. They’ll use this information to assess the complexity of your case and potential legal strategies.

  4. Communication and Next Steps: The attorney will outline how they prefer to communicate with clients (e.g., email, phone, client portal) and what the next steps would be if you choose to retain their services. They might discuss their general approach to divorce cases, such as whether they favor negotiation or litigation.

  5. Limited Legal Information: Remember, a phone consultation does not establish an attorney-client relationship. While the attorney can provide general information about divorce law, they cannot offer specific legal advice tailored to your situation until you officially retain them.

Questions to Ask During Your Consultation with a Divorce Lawyer


  • Experience: Inquire about the attorney’s experience with divorce cases, including the types of cases they typically handle and their success rate.
  • Approach: Ask about their general approach to divorce cases, whether they prioritize settlement negotiations or are prepared to litigate if necessary.
  • Fees: Clearly understand their fee structure, including the retainer fee, hourly rates (if applicable), and any additional costs you might incur.
  • Communication: Discuss how you can best communicate with the attorney and how often you can expect updates on your case.
  • Next Steps: If you decide to move forward, ask about the timeline and what you can do to prepare for the divorce process.

What NOT to Expect During a Consultation with a Divorce Lawyer


  • Free Legal Advice: Attorneys are ethically bound not to provide specific legal advice without a formal attorney-client relationship.
  • Document Review: Don’t expect the attorney to review your documents or offer in-depth analysis during a consultation.
  • Reduced Fees: While some legal aid clinics offer low-cost services, most attorneys will not work for free or at a discounted rate during a consultation.
  • Uniformity in Approaches: Different attorneys have different styles and strategies. Don’t be surprised if you receive varying responses to your questions from different lawyers.

Additional Tips for a Successful Consultation

  • Be Prepared: Write down your questions beforehand to make the most of your limited time.
  • Be Honest: Provide accurate information about your situation, as it will help the attorney assess your case more effectively.
  • Be Realistic: Understand that the consultation is an initial conversation, not a comprehensive legal analysis.
  • Be Respectful: Even if you’re feeling stressed or emotional, remember to treat the attorney with respect and courtesy. Don’t trauma dump on the lawyer or their staff.

Taking the Next Step in Your Divorce Journey


A phone consultation with a divorce lawyer is a crucial first step in navigating the legal aspects of your separation. By understanding what to expect, asking the right questions, and setting realistic expectations, you can make informed decisions about your legal representation and embark on your new chapter with confidence.

If you’re seeking assistance with an uncontested divorce in the Metro East, I invite you to reach out to my office. We can discuss your situation, I can tell you how I work on cases, and explore how I can help you navigate this challenging process. You can contact me through my website or by phone.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is essential to consult with an attorney to discuss your specific situation and legal options.