Thank you for contacting Ward Family Law Group regarding your domestic matter. We hope that we will be able to assist you during this difficult time in your life. The domestic case–whether it’s custody, divorce issues, or domestic violence—is often the first time that a prospective client will consult with an attorney. We understand that it can be a time marked by confusion, anger, frustration, fear and uncertainty. We want to share with you important information about what you can expect at the consultation and answer as many questions as possible so that you are comfortable, know what to expect, and can make educated and informed decisions about how to proceed.
Please complete the Prospective Client Application prior to your scheduled consultation. This helps the attorney understand particular issues of concern and identify legal issues of which you may not be aware. If you have any reservations whatsoever about answering a question on the application, please do not worry. Simply leave it blank, and you can discuss your questions with the attorney. Please note that the Prospective Client Application is strictly confidential.
We have tried to identify various questions that frequently come up about initial consultations. However, if you have any questions regarding the consultation, please do not hesitate to call our office or send us an email at email@example.com.
Frequently asked questions
- What is the cost of the initial consultation?
The cost of an initial consultation ranges from $265.00 to $325.00 depending on the attorney meeting with you. All of our attorneys limit their practice exclusively to family law and are either certified by the North Carolina State Bar as specialists in the field of family law or have extensive family law experience. Each attorney’s biography is listed on our website at www.wardfamilylawgroup.com. At Ward Family Law Group, we work as a team, with our lawyers collaborating with each other and sharing ideas on the best, most cost-effective strategy to address client matters.
- How long will the initial consultation last?
Attorneys typically meet with prospective clients for one to two hours for the initial consultation. The length of the consultation depends on the issues at stake. Please make sure to allow yourself at least two hours of time for the initial consultation with the attorney, as more time may be needed in order for the attorney to gather the facts and advise you on your legal issue.
- What happens during the initial consultation?
During the initial consultation, the attorney will obtain a history and facts regarding your legal matter, advise you of the law, and then counsel you on what steps you should take to protect your legal interests. This advice may result in counseling the client to initiate a lawsuit or advising a client to take certain protective measures, or do nothing at all.
- What should I bring to the consultation?
Based on your particular legal issue, you may need to bring certain documentation with you for the attorney to review during the initial consultation. Such information may include any lawsuits that have been filed, previous orders or agreements, wage earning statements, tax returns or other financial documents. This will all depend on your specific legal situation. Depending on the issue, we may ask that you provide certain documents in advance of the consultation. For example, if you have received a proposed Separation Agreement and Property Settlement Agreement from your spouse or his attorney, it is helpful if you can send this proposed Agreement in advance of the appointment, as these contracts are usually 30 or more pages. This will allow the attorney to review the document prior to the consultation and be prepared to discuss the pertinent issues with you during the consultation.
- Is the consultation confidential?
Yes. Even if you elect not to retain our firm, the information you disclose to the lawyer in the consultation and on the Prospective Client Application will remain strictly confidential and is protected by the attorney-client privilege. We want you to be able to be candid and open with us without the fear of our divulging this information.
- Should I bring a friend or relative to the consultation?
We understand that these are emotional issues that are difficult to talk about with a perfect stranger. We also understand that because these issues are so very personal and overwhelming, you may not be able to process or “digest” all of the advice the lawyer provides to you during the consultation. It is not uncommon for a Prospective Client to want to bring a relative or friend to the initial consultation. Sometimes it can be helpful to have this third party be part of the consultation to help provide factual information or offer insight on the family’s issues. However, even though the Prospective Client has not retained the firm to handle any legal matters, all information discussed with the Prospective Client during the initial consultation is protected by the attorney-client privilege, and the lawyer cannot divulge those confidential communications without the Prospective Client’s express or implied consent. The Prospective Client is the person who holds the privilege, not the lawyer. When a Prospective Client allows a third party to sit in on an initial consultation, the Prospective Client may effectively be waiving the attorney-client privilege regarding the communications during the consultation. We have never had any issue come up in litigation regarding this. However, you should consider this when deciding whether to have third parties sit in with you during the initial consultation.
- I am a stay-at-home parent, and I don’t have child care. Can I bring my children to the consultation?
There are many families in the Triangle, who don’t have relatives close by to help with child care or who haven’t lived in this area long enough to develop a strong support network of friends. We truly sympathize with your situation. However, we will likely be discussing very private, sensitive, adult issues in the initial consultation, some of which may involve the very children you wish to bring with you to the consultation. Our office is not a place for children. Please find suitable child care arrangements for your children so that you can attend the initial consultation and devote your time and attention to these important legal matters.
- How much will my case cost?
We believe in discussing with our clients at the initial interview such matters as the hourly rate our firm charges, the amount of the initial deposit that you pay to our firm, the approximate time we expect your case will take, the possibility of requesting an award of attorney’s fees as reimbursement to you, and other matters. It is our belief that our clients will be better informed and more satisfied with our services if we discuss these at an early stage. It is important that you understand that we can only provide you estimates of the cost based on our experience. However, there are a number of factors that may come into play that can ultimately affect the costs. This may include the tactics taken by your spouse and/or his/her attorney, unavoidable delays in the court system, etc. No two domestic cases are alike. For example, a lawyer may have estimated that a case would cost tens of thousands of dollars and linger for years in the court system, but that same case may suddenly settle because of some new revelation. On the other hand, a case which from the outset may seem relatively simple and straightforward could mushroom into expensive, contentious litigation due to no fault of the client. However, in each case, our attorneys work very hard prepare our clients for the potential costs associated with his or her case.