Your Initial Family Law Interview

Preparing for the Initial Interview at elringtons

Once you contact us to arrange an appointment, we will forward to you a form (Client Registration Form) for you to complete about background information about yourself, your spouse and children for you to bring to your initial interview.

Before the interview, we suggest that you read our article: Ten Questions to Ask your Family Lawyer at the Initial Interview and prepare the list of documents to bring to your initial Family Law Interview if you have them available.

What to Expect from the Initial Interview

During the initial interview, our family law solicitor will ask numerous questions from you. We expect that you may also ask many questions from the solicitor but that is not necessarily the case. In any case, we should normally have a good grasp of your case one we have obtained the information we require. We should then be in a position to provide you with our advice.

Our advice will include:

  1. A legal analysis of your case;
  2. Possible tactical and strategic considerations to achieve the best outcome;
  3. An assessment about how to achieve the outcome you (and perhaps your spouse) wish even if it’s outside the framework of the “legal analysis”;
  4. Information about a wide range resources and services available which may be appropriate for your case including, for example:
    1. Counselling;
    2. Different forms of alternative dispute resolution including mediation, collaborative law and other form of negotiations ;
    3. Financial advice;
    4. Courses available to parties and to children to deal with separation and divorce;
  5. The terms of our retainer and an estimate of your total costs depending on the stage which your matter reaches.

The Fear of the Unknown

I have come to realise after practicing as a family lawyer for many years that clients who meet me for their initial interview are quite hesitant and nervous. I think that their main concern is the fear of the unknown, fear about what I am going to advise them, about the prospects of their case, about how the matter will progress and about how much it may all cost.

Normally, a client does not see his/her family law matter as a once in a lifetime opportunity for their case to become a legal precedent. They do not want to go to court and, instead, consider their family law matter as a problem which, ideally, may be resolved.

I have observed that, normally, a new client is more relaxed and assured at the conclusion of the first interview. The news may have been good or at least reassuring but even if not, even if the news were disappointing, I find that new clients tend to be relieved.

In my view, one essential prerequisite for clients before negotiating a settlement is to obtain the necessary information and knowledge about their dispute. Once the clients have acquired the necessary knowledge and information they know that their family law matter is no longer a run-away train. He/She has options available, even in the more difficult cases which may resemble a runaway train. At least there may be options damage control type options.

The vast majority of family law matters are resolved outside the courts. Family lawyers are trained advocates, we are trained to litigate and sometimes we do litigate our clients’ disputes. That’s part of our job. The reality is, however, that experienced family lawyers normally resolve the vast majority of their clients’ disputes out of court.

For more information or to make an appointment with a Family Law Solicitor contact

Carlos Turini:

p: (02) 6206 1300 | e: cturini@elringtons.com.au