I’m not ready to pay for a consultation with a Virginia divorce attorney

Posted on May 16, 2016 by Katie Carter

Even though most family law attorneys in our area charge a consultation fee (in fact, when I say most, I mean virtually all), there are still lots of women out there who are a little bit uncomfortable with that. Though I understand both sides here, and know that there are lots of reasons why family law attorneys in our area charge a consultation fee, I also get why a woman who is in a state of crisis would think twice about paying several hundred dollars just to talk to someone about her case.
At our firm, the initial consultation fee is $285. That’s not an arbitrary number, though you may wonder why not $250 or $300 instead. It’s $285 because that’s a discounted number for our hourly rate. It’s a reflection of our feelings that we do want to make our services affordable, and a recognition that legal services are often quite expensive. We know that our current and prospective clients are going through a major phase of transition and upheaval, and that it is frequently expensive. We understand, and we really do the best we can to make sure that we’re as conscientious as possible. That said, though, proficient, prepared, thorough legal representation often doesn’t come cheap.
If you think about it…you probably don’t want the “cheap” or “affordable” attorney anyway. There are plenty of places to cut corners, but when it comes to handling your divorce or custody case, you probably know that you need to have someone in your corner, fighting for your every advantage. Divorce is one of the biggest financial transactions in an adult’s life, which makes sense, if you really take the time to think about it. I remember buying my first house, and thinking about how much of my life I was just signing away. In a divorce, though, it’s not just your real estate that you’re dividing—it’s investments, retirement accounts, cars, and even custody. It’s everything financial that made up your life together, plus your kids. It’s huge.
And, of course, custody cases are crazy, too, and you’d like to be sure you have good representation—not “cheap” representation.
Still, even though you know it’s important, that doesn’t mean you’re ready to whip out your credit card to pay for an initial consultation just yet. It’s a big deal, and you want to be sure you’re making the best possible decision for yourself and your future. You’re probably wondering whether you even need to hire an attorney, what might be involved in your case legally, and what type of retainer you would be looking at.
Besides that, choosing an attorney is hard. You can read a bunch of bios online, or dig through Avvo profiles, but how do you know that you’ve selected someone who will be the best person to represent you in your particular situation? After all, so much of this is so intensely personal—you’ll want to be sure that you find someone who makes you feel comfortable. Someone who can be kind and empathetic towards you, but purposeful and pragmatic when it comes to dealing with your husband and his attorney. Someone who will stand up for what you deserve, and stands a chance of getting it.
Without working in the legal field (and probably specifically in divorce and custody), it’s hard to know anything about the law firms, the attorneys, and the procedure. You can look into Avvo or Martindale Hubble or the other attorney information sites out there, but you’re definitely right to wonder whether you can get real information on those sites. (Usually, it’s not so much that the information is wrong, it’s just inaccurate. More on this topic on Wednesday, so stay tuned.)

So, how can you get some more information about the divorce process—before you pay a consultation fee?

Lucky for you, there are lots of ways to get more information about divorce and custody cases before you pay a consultation fee, and you’re in the right place to find out about them all. In fact, you’re smart for not wanting to jump ahead too quickly; take the time, ask the questions, and gather the information you need to feel secure in the decisions you’ll be making. After all, it’s your future at stake!

1. Order a free book about custody and divorce cases in Virginia.

Yes, you read that right—totally free. We’ve published a number of books over the years, designed to answer some of the most common questions we get from prospective clients.
Our first book, “What Every Virginia Woman Needs to Know About Divorce,” (and it’s counterpart, “What Every Virginia Military Wife Should Know About Divorce”) is designed to help women answer some of the questions they have about divorce at the beginning of the process. They’re very comprehensive, written in easy to understand language (no complicated legalese here!), and designed to help beginners figure out which way is up, so to speak. Whether you’re military or civilian, there’s a book for you. For more information about the book, or to request a free copy right now, click here.
If yours is a custody case, check out our book, “The Woman’s Custody Survival Guide.” It’s full of information about custody and visitation cases in Virginia, whether they’re part of an underlying divorce or not. You’ll learn all about how custody cases work, including the ten “best interests of the child” factors, special issues in custody cases (like same sex parents, homeschooling, and special needs children), and more. For more information about the book, or to request a free copy right now, click here.
Have a divorce case where custody is also an issue? Request our divorce book and our custody book.  Military divorce and custody? Same deal. Request our military divorce book and our custody book. You don’t need both the regular divorce and the military divorce books, though; they cover the same topics.
With all of our books, if you fill out the form, you’ll receive an e-book version immediately, delivered directly to your inbox. If you live in our immediate area, you’ll also get a follow up email, asking for your address so that we can send you a hard copy. Don’t worry, though—we will only send your book in a plain, white envelope. No one will be able to tell what’s inside.
Still want more information? After you request the book, you’ll receive an invitation to join in our divorce, military divorce, or custody e-course. Sign up, and you’ll start to receive emails, filled with tons of interesting tips and tricks (all written for you by one of our licensed and experienced Virginia divorce and custody attorneys) designed to help make your case flow even more smoothly, whether or not you ultimately decide to hire one of our attorneys. Best of all? It’s free, too.

2. Attend one of our seminars.

Our attorneys also teach divorce seminars. We call them Second Saturday, because that’s when we teach them (on the Second Saturday and the Third Tuesday of the month), but the seminar’s official title is after the book—“What Every Virginia Woman Needs to Know About Divorce.”
We teach the seminars in both Virginia Beach (on the Second Saturday and Third Tuesday of the month) at the Friends Meeting House at 1537 Laskin Road, and Newport News (on just the Second Saturday of the month) at the Hilton Garden Inn at 180 Regal Way, next to Regal Cinemas.
The Second Saturday seminars are from 8:30-10:00 in the morning, and Third Tuesday runs from 6:30-8:00 in the evening. The cost to attend is $40 if you pre-register, or $50 if you pay at the door.
The seminar is a great way to get tons of up to date, Virginia specific divorce information, all provided to you by one of our divorce attorneys. Confused? Don’t understand? Have a question? Feel free to ask your general questions to our attorney at the seminar. We’re happy to help. (For case-specific questions, though, you may need an appointment. It’s not a confidential forum, and we take care to protect your right to privacy and confidentiality!)
For more information about the seminar, including the topics covered, registration, and more, visit our website by clicking here. Want to know who is presenting, so that you can be sure to hear from the attorney you’re thinking of hiring? Give us a call at (757) 425-5200, and we’ll be happy to let you know about the schedule for our upcoming seminar.

3. Go to Girl’s Night Out.

Want to meet us before you hire us? That’s okay. We understand. We’re really nice, and we know you’ll like us.
That’s part of the reason why we started Girl’s Night Out. It’s also because we heard from our current and former clients that they lost a lot of their friends in the divorce process, and we wanted to make sure we provided an opportunity for them to cut loose and have a little fun. To make lemonade from lemons, so to speak!
Our Girl’s Night Out events are completely informal, and are designed just to give women a chance to get out and have some fun. We don’t discuss the law or anything case specific, so if you do have a question you want addressed, you may be better off attending one of our seminars or scheduling a consultation.
Still, Girl’s Night Out is a great way to meet us, see what we’re like, and get an idea of whether we’re the kind of people you want to work through your divorce or custody case with.
The best part? It’s free, too! We provide drinks and snacks, and all you do is show up. Don’t want to come alone? That’s fine, too. You can bring a friend. (Though, of course, she does have to be a girl!)
For more information about our next event, click here.  We’d love to see you there!
If you’re just not ready to pay for a consultation, you’re not alone. And that’s totally fine. Do what you need to do to get the information you need before you make any big decisions. Get a free copy of our book. Attend a seminar. Meet up with us at Girl’s Night Out. Whatever you do, make sure that you feel comfortable and you have the information you need to make the best possible choice for you, your family, and your future.
For more information about us, or to schedule an appointment, give our office a call at (757) 425-5200.