My Naples, Florida lawyers with free consultations are rare but I am one of them. Many other divorce lawyers in Naples do not offer free consultations. Whether offering a free consultation is a signal for the quality (or lack thereof) of a divorce lawyer depends on a lot of factors. Typically, whether a free consultation is offered by a divorce lawyer depends on the kind of consultation you’re looking for.
My office here in Naples, Florida offers free consultations largely because I was used to offering free consultations at my Chicago, Illinois family law firm. Chicago’s market was extremely competitive with hundreds and hundreds of divorce lawyers competing for tens of thousands of clients. I am glad to offer a more boutique service here in Naples, Florida but I still provide a very similar free consultation to my Florida clients as i did to my Chicago clients.
Standard Advice During A Free Consultation
Upon scheduling a free consultation, my staff will typically send you an intake sheet where you can fill out the broad sketches of your financial life (as far as you know) and details about your minor children. Before the consultation, I will have perused the intake form and will ask some very pointed questions about what your goals are after the divorce. Specifically, where do you imagine yourself a year from now? Two years from now? Five years from now?
And then, I offer the same advice I offer to everyone: we should begin at the end.
“Beginning at the end” means that we should prepare the final documents before we prepare the initial petition for dissolution of marriage. as you would imagine them to look in a perfect world where your spouse would agree to everything you desired (within reason). There is little risk in doing this. The worst your spouse can say is “No” to everything. The best that can happen is that they will simply agree for the sake of expediency (this happens way more often than you’d think).
The only risk involved in preparing final documents at the beginning of a case is that you may not have access to all of your financial information immediately. More to the point, you probably don’t have access to all of your spouse’s financial information. Even more the point, you don’t know if you have access all of your spouse’s financial information.
Not to worry, the final documents do not have to be complete. They can contain fillable blanks. I usually put bold letters to draw attention to the unknown in my clients’ final documents like “INSERT FINANCIAL INFORMATION HERE.”
Upon preparing and approving the final documents for your divorce, I typically give the final documents to my client so they can have them ready when they announce, “I want a divorce.” My clients can subsequently say, “I’ve already talked with a divorce lawyer here in Naples, Florida and he prepared these final documents as an example of what our final agreement would look like.”
Being tendered the final documents for a divorce at the moment that you communicate your desire for a divorce may sound cold and calculated but it produces a wonderful effect. The spouse receiving the divorce announcement and the final documents will initially feel extreme and expected anxiety but, upon reading the final documents moments later, will feel that anxiety subside to an acceptable level. The final documents will lay everything out even if some of the clauses are blank because of a temporary lack of information.
As you can see even in the worst case scenarios by “beginning at the end” 50% of the work involved in a divorce is often done during the very first step.
Paid divorce lawyer consultations are common in Naples, Florida. Paid consultations are completely appropriate for both the lawyer and the client if the purpose of the paid consultation is to educate the client on what might happen if they did file for divorce.
Unlike, a free consultation where the best advice is, “let’s just begin a the end” a paid consultation doesn’t have a real “beginning.” The client who needs a paid consultation needs to educate himself/herself on what will happen in a divorce and what strategies are necessary both now and in the future to ensure the best outcome.
Evrery Divorce lawyer in Naples, FL went to an undergraduate university for four years, law school for 3 years and then took a multi-day bar exam to be just certified to answer questions about divorce in Florida. Subsequently, most of us have practiced family law to the exclusion of any other kind of law for years. It is incredibly difficult to provide a detailed strategy in advance of a divorce in just a few moments. In these situations, a paid consultation is absolutely warranted.
If the potential client’s goal is to be educated about divorce in Collier County, Florida, I will charge for my time. When educating a potential client on divorce in Naples, Florida, I will not give just a review of their finances and ask what the client would like “in a perfect world” so as to prepare the final documents. I recognize and am extremely familiar that there are numerous strategies a person should consider while considering divorce. Please contact me so we can discuss all these strategies privately.
Important Considerations During Any Naples, Florida Divorce Consultation
If you are researching divorce online, you are probably familiar with the rule that lawyers cannot have even a consult with an attorney and then subsequently represent the opposing party.
This will automatically trigger the thought, “I will just consult with every good lawyer in Naples, Florida and then my spouse won’t be able to hire any of them.” I assure you that this is a futile and counter-productive strategy.
If in fact, if you do spend 40+ hours interviewing all of the divorce lawyers in Naples, Florida your spouse will merely end up hiring someone from Lee County or the Miami area. Your spouse’s attorney expenses, including the expense of commuting to Collier County for the court date, may end up being partly your responsibility as all expenses until you are divorced are considered marital expenses to be bourn by both parties.
Feel free to contact my Naples, Florida family law office for a free initial consultation to determine if you need representation or a paid consultation to consider all of your options as I have described above.