Many people are scared of picking up the phone and making that first call. They put it off for days, even weeks until the pressure builds and they either give up and don’t make the call; or they make the call but in such a stressed way that they don’t hear much of the information they were seeking.
If you need to make the call to get a consult – maybe divorce or maintenance, domestic violence or something else just as personal – first write a list of things you need to know. Check your diary to see which dates and times you’re available and make sure you have funds so you can pay for the consult.
Now make the call. Ask the name and status of the person with whom you are speaking. Remember that no-one is going to give you legal advice over the phone, and they probably won’t be putting you through to an attorney. You’ll be surprised at how helpful, warm and approachable people are.
The Receptionist/Switchboard Operator is there to answer your call. If you know who you want to speak with she may put you through to that person’s Secretary so you can make an appointment. If you don’t know who to speak to she’ll either make the appointment herself or put you through to someone else who will try to assist you.
If it’s a divorce, just tell them it’s a divorce, tell them how you are married how many children and what sex and age they are, give them your phone number and email address and make the appointment. You don’t have to tell them any more than that. You certainly don’t have to go into any detail whatsoever until you meet your Attorney and start answering his/her questions.
So that’s it. That’s the first move. You picked up the phone and made an appointment and nothing bad has happened to you.
When you go along to this first consult please remember that you’re under no obligation to return. All you’re doing is having a one off consultation. If you take an instant dislike to the attorney you’re consulting with then you don’t have to see him/her again. However, like or dislike, do make sure that you get answers to that list of questions and all the other questions that the attorney answers without you having to ask. Get as much information as you can. Make sure you understand it fully. Ask if you’re not sure. Tell the whole truth – all of it – the Law of Privilege protects you from anyone else knowing, but keeping things from the attorney might adversely affect the advice you receive.
At the end of the consult you’ll probably feel a bit wobbly or shaky because an hour of intense question and answer about your marriage can do that to a person. You could feel a bit confused, a bit relieved that you’ve ‘got it all out of your system’ a bit teary because it brought up memories, etc. The main thing is, the first consult is over. Now go home and spend a few days ‘letting the dust settle’, clearing your thoughts, deciding on the way forward.
If you decide to move forward and take action against your Spouse then you pick up the phone a second time, you make a second appointment and you begin with your Divorce
The idea of that first phone call; the very thought of making it may be daunting, scary, unnerving and intimidating but that’s all in your head. It’s not the phone call that’s scary, it’s facing up to the fact that your marriage is over and you now have to deal with it.