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My Initial Consult with a Family Law and Divorce Lawyer

Posted by Kathleen Murphy | Mar 21, 2019

Every lawyer handles consultations differently but we think we present a well-versed presentation that provides you with clarity and knowledge.  We've got this on your behalf.

During our initial consultation, the presentation is broken down into four (4) distinct phases: 

  • Gathering a Snapshot.   The attorney will take all the information provided and funnel into a summary or snapshot that allows the attorney to summarize in her mind what the issues may be regarding your separation.  It is during this phase that the attorney will ask you many questions and the information provided can be general and if you are not sure of an answer or you do not have specific information, that is still okay for an initial consultation.
  • Why Did You Seek a Consultation.   What happened to cause you to call an attorney and how is your home life?  It is during this phase of the consultation that we discuss what is going on in terms of the children, domestic violence, criminal behaviors, drugs and/or mental health concerns.  Additionally, we ask about your safety and we inquire about whether or not your family has the services of mental health providers.
  • The Law and the Process of the Law.   The attorney will describe the general issues involved in separation and divorce. There are generally five (5) issues to be aware of and there are generally three (3) methods of addressing the issues.  The general issues are explained more specifically in subsequent blogs but the 5 general issues are: 
    • How Do We Separate
    • Children
      • Custody
      • Support
    • Alimony
    • Equitable Distribution
      • Debt
      • Assets
    • Domestic Violence

The methods of addressing these areas of concern are:

  • File Litigation
    • Have a trial and get a Court Order
    • Settle out of court with a Consent Order
    • Dismiss the Lawsuit
  • Do Not File Litigation
    • Mediation
    • Separation and Property Settlement Agreement
  • Do Nothing (no issues to resolve)
  • Next Steps. During this phase of the consultation, the attorney will make suggestions of what should be happening next and the attorney provides a proposed contract along with the name of another attorney for a second opinion.

About the Author

Kathleen Murphy

Kathleen Murphy is graduate of North Carolina State University with a B.A. in Political Science, 1985. She attended Campbell University Law School and received her Juris Doctorate, 1988. Ms. Murphy has been a family law attorney for over 30 years and has limited her practice solely to family law since 1988. On October 1, 2023, Kathleen accepted a position as a senior attorney with Triangle Divorce Lawyers and she can be reached at [email protected]. Ms. Murphy is a member of the North Carolina State Bar, North Carolina Bar Association, NCBA Family Law Section Member, is a trained Family Financial Mediator and a trained Child's Advocate. Ms. Murphy is married to a City of Raleigh Firefighter and has four children, three daughters and a son. Ms. Murphy is a contributor to an International podcast. Crime Stories with Nancy Grace is broadcasted daily and you can hear Ms. Murphy's comments on cases involving victims of family crimes and the impact of family court.