What Can I Expect From A Free Family Law Consultation?

Unsurprisingly, everyone wants a free consultation. No one wants to pay for a family law consultation, much less pay an attorney. Accordingly, in an effort to secure new business some attorneys offer free consultations. Now, while there aren’t many family law attorneys who offer free consultation, here’s what you – the prospective client – can expect from your free family law consultation.

Brief Consultation

It’s very doubtful that a family law attorney will speak to you at length for free. In reality, the consultation will probably be less than 30 minutes in duration; just long enough for the attorney to learn what they need to know about your case to provide a quote.

A Conversation

A legal consultation is a conversation about your situation and how the law may apply to your situation. In family law, that conversation will center upon divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, or property division.

Not A Self-Help Workshop

Again, your free consultation will be a conversation and likely will not include specific instructions on filling out Judicial Council forms or procedural guidance. In short, your free consultation will not be a family law self-help workshop. (That’s for your county’s free family law facilitator’s office which is notoriously slow to respond and generally unhelpful).

Why Divorce Attorneys Offer Free Consultations

The reality is that divorce attorneys offer free consultations to sell you on their services and hopefully gain you as a paying client. Help from an attorney should be free, but in reality, it’s not free. Many times family law clients find out that their free consultation wasn’t that helpful, and all they really took away from the conversation was a quote for services.

If You Can’t Afford An Attorney

Not everyone can afford an attorney, and yet self-help centers are not that helpful. However, there is a way to get legal guidance from a family law attorney for minimal cost. If you and your spouse are attempting to divorce and on fairly good terms, you could hire an attorney for limited scope representation. In limited scope representation, the attorney often charges a flat fee to prepare certain documents and guide you through the process.

Another alternative if you can’t afford limited scope representation but need “self-help” guidance is to find an attorney who will provide legal and procedural assistance during a paid consultation. For instance, family law attorney Jin Kim in Sacramento charges $200 for a one-hour consultation in which she helps clients with family law forms and offers procedural guidance. Now, that one-hour meeting won’t get a client to the finish line, but it will help them take the next step in their case.

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