What is an ‘Initial Consultation?’
An initial consultation is a visit to the law firm’s office, in person, by telephone, by Skype, etc. for a meeting with an attorney who gathers all of the facts of your case, advises you about how the law applies to your particular situation, helps you assess your rights and risks in your family law matter and explains how your legal matter will be handled by the Court. Mediation, in hopes of settling the case, is discussed in every initial consultation.
What happens most often when you call a law firm asking about an initial consultation with an attorney?
- You don’t have an opportunity to speak with the attorney himself or herself, rather, you speak with a staff member who most frequently asks questions about your ability to pay money to the attorney.
- Free consultations are limited in time, usually from 15 to 30 minutes. No attorney can give quality legal advice without gathering many facts from the client. Fact gathering takes time. No attorney can give quality legal advice about your legal future without this necessary fact gathering.
- 15 to 30 minute free consultations do not afford the attorney time to do the following: (1) gather all of the fact about your case; (2) give you advice about your rights and risks based on the facts of your case; (3) advised you of what steps need to be taken to attempt to accomplish your legal objectives, e.g., the filing of a Petition or Motion, (4) advise you of the need to provide information to the opposing party and the opposing party’s obligation to provide this same kind of information to you. This information usually centers on income, assets and liabilities and all issues relating to children.
- While the attorney who owns the law firm is presumed to have the most experience among the other attorneys of the Firm, all to often, less experienced associates or even paralegals conduct the initial consultation. Experience matters.
- Most attorneys fail to provide suggestions as to how to keep children from being injured by a divorce, how to help you and your children cope with one of the most stressful events in anyone’s life and how to start planning for the future NOW so that by the time your legal action is over, you are ready for a new life.
- Most attorneys do not advise you that while the attorney is the captain of the legal ship (the attorney merely gives you advice on your legal and ethical options), YOU are the captain of the decisional ship. So long as what you ask your attorney to do, your attorney must do so as long as what you request is legal and ethical.
- Attorneys who have not been licensed to practice law for a considerable period of time most often provide free consultations. Experience does matter.
What to Expect from Your Initial Consultation with Catherine W. Real
Taking the first step toward legal guidance during your divorce can be frightening. That is why Tampa Divorce Attorney Catherine W. Real gives practical information to prospective clients and begins each case with an in-depth consultation. Your first step should be to reach out to the firm to discuss your case either in person, over the phone, or through a video conference. To help you come prepared, Ms. Real has provided information on what to expect from your initial consultation with the firm.
At Catherine W. Real’s firm, an initial consultation costs $200. This fee provides you with the following benefits:
- Unlimited Time: Unlimited time with Catherine Real during the initial consultation, i.e., your first meeting with her. While an initial consultation usually lasts between one to two hours, one of her latest initial consultations lasted over six hours.
- Personal Cell Phone Number Is Given To Every Prospective Client Who Comes In For An Initial Consultation: The personal cell phone number of Attorney Catherine W. Real is given to each prospective client so that, at no cost prior to retaining, there is an opportunity to ask her unlimited questions, prior to retaining, after the initial consultation is over. No client remembers to ask every question and frequently so many issues are discussed that a client might want to ask for a clarification.
- Finding Out All Of The Facts Of Your Particular Case: Everyone’s case is different. At the initial consultation, Attorney Catherine W. Real will offer you an opportunity to tell her all of the facts about your case and concerns, whether it be about a divorce, a suit to establish paternity or modifications of these Final Judgments. She will ask you what you hope to achieve, i.e., your goals. No attorney can give quality legal advice if the client is not given a full opportunity to relate all of facts that concern him or her.
- Overview of the laws that pertain to client’s case: Your case may involve a number of legal concerns.
- Children’s issues: (child support, timesharing, the duty to consult with the other spouse about major decisions in a child’s life or alienation of a child’s affection for the other parent)
- The division of your property… in other words ‘who gets what you own and who pays what you owe’: (e.g., your businesses, houses, bank and investment accounts, pensions, profit sharing plans and retirement accounts, jewelry, motor vehicles, stocks and stock options, the content of your home and any other marital property)
- Alimony for the purposes of support: Catherine W. Real will explain the many kinds of alimony, your rights and risks with respect to each kind and the tax consequences associated with alimony payments
- Accusations of domestic violence: Accusations of domestic violence may be true or false. The existence and consequences of domestic violence will be explored with all clients during any initial consultation.
- Relocation with children outside of the State of Florida: The factors Courts consider in determining whether a spouse will be permitted to take the children to live outside the state of Florida will be discussed if the client has an interest in doing so.
Since all cases are different, the issues listed above are just ‘some’ of the legal matters that may be discussed during an initial consultation with Catherine W. Real.
- Discussion of the legal steps that need to be taken to get a Final Judgment of Divorce or Paternity or modification of these Final Judgments: Catherine Real will discuss what steps need to be taken to try to accomplish your legal goals. Petitions or Motions - The filing with the Clerk of the Circuit Court of a Petition or Motion may be required. Discovery - The exchange of documents regarding income, assets and liabilities (like W-2s, paystubs and tax returns) is frequently required by the Court. Depositions - A deposition of you, your spouse and other witnesses may be taken, i.e., questions may be asked of you, your spouse or other witnesses before a Court Reporter who can then type out a transcript of every word said, under oath, during the deposition. Mediation - Mediation frequently settles all disputes between spouses. If the parties can’t mediate their case to settlement, then evidence is presented to a Judge at a Final Hearing, after which the Judge decides all of the issues for the parties.
- Knowledgeable recommendations regarding the best approach for each client’s case: Whether you win or loose your case does not just depend on the facts of your case. Catherine Real, during an initial consultation, will explore legal and ethical ‘options’ you may want to choose in trying to settle your case or, if your case cannot be settled, in presenting your case to a Judge. Experience makes a difference.
- Putting ‘YOU’ back in control of your life: No attorney should demand that you take a particular approach during you’re case. This is YOUR life and, so long as what you want done is legal and ethical, Catherine Real will, without judging you, attempt to carry our your wishes.
Quoting a Retainer and Cost Deposit: No attorney should quote a fee without determining, during the initial consultation, whether the case is legally simple, like a Name Change or legally complex. Catherine W. Real will never pressure a client to retain her Firm at any time including immediately after the Initial Consultation. Each client should be given sufficient time, away from the influences of the attorney, to decide whether he or she believes the attorney
- Is knowledgeable of the law,
- Has the kind of care-about-you personality,
- Will always look for opportunities to settle the differences between both you and your spouse, if settlement is possible, rather than promote fights just to earn more money,
- Has considerable experience in Court, if your case is not capable of being settled, and
- Is economically compatible with the client’s ability to pay legal fees and costs.
Referrals To Another Attorney: If, after the Initial Consultation, the client chooses not to retain the Firm of Catherine W. Real, if asked, Ms. Real will give the client the names of other family law attorneys who the client may be able to afford. Catherine Real maintains a small list of attorneys to whom she would feel safe in referring a client. Since you have already had an initial consultation with Catherine Real, you will know the law as it applies to your case, how your case will proceed to a conclusion and what you can expect from the family law lawyer you retain. Knowledge obtained from an Initial Consultation with Catherine Real is power.
We do not believe that you will receive this level of in-depth representation from the onset of your case at any other firm. With the unique approach to the initial consultation, Attorney Catherine W. Real fully invests her time and attention to her clients’ family law matters from the moment they walk through the office door to effectively address their needs.
Ensure that You Have the Legal Guidance You Need
When looking for an attorney to handle your divorce, it is essential to ensure that you have high-quality legal representation. Choosing an attorney based solely on how much he or she charges is the wrong way to go about finding a family law advocate, and could ultimately cost you more in the long run.
When you work with Catherine W. Real, P.A., you can count on a legal advocate who will give everything she has to fight for your best interest, and that of your children. As you and your current spouse make decisions about the divorce, such as the division of your marital property, child timesharing and support and alimony, get representation from an experienced Tampa divorce lawyer who goes above and beyond to attempt to accomplish YOUR legal objectives.
Call Catherine W. Real, P.A. today to set up an Initial Consultation for legal services during your case.