EXPERIENCED MICHIGAN FAMILY LAW OFFICE
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PREPARING FOR MEETING WITH A MICHIGAN DIVORCE LAWYER
Our Michigan divorce and family law office is often asked, how one should prepare for their first meeting with a Michigan Divorce attorney.
EXPECT YOUR MICHIGAN DIVORCE LAWYER TO DO A CONFLICT CHECK
If the lawyer or the lawyer's firm has represented or consulted with anyone on the other side of the case, he or she may have a conflict and may not be able to represent you.
If you have spoken with a divorce attorney about your matter, that attorney may be prevented to talking to your spouse about your matter.
Remember the episode from The Sopranos when Tony and Carmela contemplate divorce? When Tony goes to divorce attorneys in the area and reveals information that ethically prevented those attorneys from representing Carmela when she came to them seeking a divorce lawyer? First, I am not suggesting that you do what Tony did. I am just suggesting, that there is a reason why your attorney will not speak with you before getting names of all the parties involved.
Before you get too far into a conversation with a Michigan Divorce Lawyer, the attorney will need to identify the participants, in order to determine if there is a possible "conflict of interest" in continuing with the conversation.
If a lawyer meets or talks with you without asking your name and the other side’s name, be wary of that lawyer, as he/she is violating the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct.
EXPECT TO PROVIDE INFORMATION REQUESTED
Sometimes, a Michigan Divorce Lawyer may also try to facilitate the information gathering process by sending you a questionnaire to fill out filled out and return in advance.
Be sure to fill out the questionnaire and send it in to the lawyer's office before the meeting.
Also bring with you to the meeting copies of any available documents that may be requested in the questionnaire.
EXPECT TO KNOW WHAT YOU WANT OUT OF YOUR DIVORCE BEFORE YOU MEET WITH A MICHIGAN DIVORCE LAWYER
You should have an idea of what your goals are in your divorce. Before you meet with a lawyer, think about what you want when your divorce is over. These are the areas to keep in mind:
How do you want to divide your property?
What kind of parenting time arrangements do you want?
Have an idea of what you want BEFORE you meet with a Michigan Divorce Attorney.
EXPECT TO ASK QUESTIONS OF YOUR OWN
Prepare for your meeting with a lawyer by knowing what you want out of divorce and by preparing questions for the Michigan Divorce Lawyer. Make a list of questions and write them down. These are the types of questions to ask:
- ASK HOW MUCH YOUR MICHIGAN DIVORCE WILL COST
Ask the specifics about the divorce attorney’s fees, including an estimate of a final cost.
- ASK THE MICHIGAN DIVORCE ATTORNEY ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE
Ask detailed information about the attorney’s experience in divorce law.
Ask detailed information as to how much of the attorney’s practice is devoted to divorce and/or family law.
Ask if your case is in a county the attorney normally practices in.
- ASK THE MICHIGAN DIVORCE LAWYER ABOUT HIS/HER APPROACH
Ask if he/she usually takes a combative/aggressive approach or cooperative approach when it comes to dealing with your spouse's attorney.
Ask and how often the attorney’s divorce cases go to trial.
Remember if you are hoping to keep down the costs, avoid conflict and want to "settle" your divorce quickly, you will want to be wary of combative attorneys. However, you do not want a divorce attorney that will not fight for your rights if your divorce starts to get nasty.
- ASK WHAT IS THE POTENTIAL OUTCOME OF YOUR DIVORCE CASE
Ask what you should expect regarding property division and alimony.
Ask what you should expect regarding parenting time. Ask what you should expect regarding support obligations.
A divorce attorney that does not tell you the POTENTIAL outcomes of the above is either too inexperienced or is afraid to tell you the truth, especially if it is a type of outcome that might not work in your favor.
However, you need to be concerned if a Michigan divorce lawyer GUARANTEES you a specific result. There is no way to provide you with a guarantee of a specific result at your first meeting as the Michigan divorce attorney does not yet know what your spouse may have to say (or what evidence your spouse may have), which could change the whole analysis of your case.
- ASK WHAT DOCUMENTS A MICHIGAN DIVORCE LAWYER WILL WANT TO SEE
Current statements for all assets and debts.
Most recent tax returns.
Most recent payroll information for both spouses.
Retirement funds documentation
Legal documents related to your marriage, such as prenuptial agreements, adoption documents for your children, and restraining orders or personal protection orders you may have taken out against your spouse.
If you used another attorney for any of these other proceedings, bring his or her name and phone number to the meeting.
LET US HELP YOU
The above is not intended to be legal advice, and is only a brief overview of Michigan law. If you have any questions regarding your matter, or if you believe you may be facing a legal in Michigan, contact us today. A Michigan lawyer will discuss with you Michigan law, providing you with information to protect you and your family – for years to come.
There is no charge for your initial phone consultation.
ATTORNEY ELLEN PAYNTER
West Bloomfield Main Office
Troy Satellite Office
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You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.
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