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Had my free consult today, it was awful!!!

Lsja posted 11/4/2020 15:27 PM

I'll start by saying that I will not be using this attorneys office.

I get there for my appointment and they tell me that the person I'm scheduled to see isn't in the office. They said I could talk to another attorney over the phone after I filled out some paperwork. I sat down at a small lonely looking desk in the corner with a telephone on it and waited for the call.

The person I spoke with was yawning over and over, harsh and unsympathetic. I didn't say why I needed a divorce, and she clearly didn't care to ask.

She gave me some daunting information about finances. All our debt is jointly owned even if its financed in his name. She said the best thing to do is sell the house and pay off all debts. Then split the difference. Spousal support would only be for 4-6 years and its amount is based on how and if we split the debts.

I told her I would need to go back to school to restart my career, and I was worried if I could survive financially if I leave my husband. She told me to go work at Target.

Child support payments would be based on how we decide to split custody.

I'm so discouraged. I was hoping I'd be able to secure a place to live with the split of our home, but I wasn't taking our debts into account. So if I leave, I'll be homeless, jobless, insuranceless, and traumatized.

I didn't expect things to be easy,but I feel kind of trapped. Am I just being a wimp?

Any useful advice or kind words? I've had all the harshness i can stand today.

EllieKMAS posted 11/4/2020 16:16 PM


Take some breaths.

I am sure that divorce is a booming business right now given the pandemic and such. My advice is to try some other free consults. Get a second opinion. And a third. And a fourth....

If you are going to be using a lawyer for the divorce, then keep consulting til you find one you click with, cus you will find that.

Just look at this as research. You aren't obligated to do anything right now.

Planetx posted 11/4/2020 16:27 PM

That sounds awful, not all offices are like that. Keep trying until you find one that gives you a good feeling. I think in general, any lawyer will be kind of unsympathetic about the "why" of your divorcing. In most states, infidelity isn't factored into the divorce. My lawyer was very direct and a little cold, but it worked in my favor when she put XWH in his place and kept him in check when he tried to bully me.

Just think of yourself as being a job interviewer. Keep looking until you find a good fit! I did 3 consults. Do you have any friends that have been through a divorce and could refer you? It's daunting to do a google search and choose from the list.

Anna123 posted 11/4/2020 19:04 PM

You are not alone! My attorneys desk woman was awful sometimes. She would say things that were very anxiety inducing!! I am glad you will be going elsewhere though because the Attny. not being there for an appt. is a very bad sign. I would also think she could in trouble giving you advice like that!

leafields posted 11/4/2020 22:17 PM

Plus, if you see the attorney, your UH can't use them.

20yrsagoBS posted 11/4/2020 22:26 PM

Find the local asshole attorneys.

Consult with each one before picking one

Catwoman posted 11/5/2020 07:42 AM

I think you need to reset your expectations in this regard.

Your attorney is not your counselor, IC or friend. They are there to represent your business interests in the dissolution of your marriage. Certainly they can do so with compassion and empathy, but that is not their primary responsibility.

There are other nuances that someone giving a consult is not going to get into, such as dissipation of marital assets (i.e. him spending money on the affair) that may or may not be subject to division between the parties.

A consult is just that: a consultation. A job interview, so to speak. You're interviewing attorneys. OK, so this one wasn't a good fit. Find someone else. Interview a couple of someone elses. Make a list of questions to ask, such as how things like dissipation of marital assets are handled (if that is germane to your case).

Now, how to find a good attorney. I don't rely on word of mouth. Most large metropolitan areas have a "Best of the Best" series where they list the best doctors, dentists . . . and attorneys. I'd start there.

First, you want someone who specializes in family law. You don't want someone who is handling bankruptcies, DUIs and such to take on your divorce. You want a specialist.

Secondly, I would think you would also want to look for a firm that has all levels of attorneys from the professional pit bulls and sharks in heels to more junior associates and paralegals. Why is this important? You don't want your attorney who is charging you $250 an hour to be making your copies. By having a larger firm, your costs can actually be reduced. The paralegal or admin does the grunt work, the junior associate drafts the paperwork and the senior associate reviews it. You may not even need a senior associate, but that is something that you and the attorney you hire would need to discuss.

Child support is normally a formula based on the parties earnings and, in some states, parenting time.

Spousal support is usually "rehabilitative support" designed to get a former SAHP into the working world.

Infidelity may or may not be a factor in the division of assets and debt.

Debt may or may not be split evenly. There may be debt that belongs solely to one individual (i.e. student loans, where the other party doesn't really benefit from that education investment). It depends on the laws of your state.

As you can see, a consultation is not going to get into the weeds with this. They are merely giving you an overview of how they would take your case, what you might reasonably expect in broad, BROAD terms and how they work as an attorney and as a firm. That's ALL you really get out of a consult.

So, go find some additional attorneys to interview. View this as a business transaction. Certainly you want and deserve basic kindness and empathy, but your attorney is not your counselor.


barcher144 posted 11/5/2020 09:06 AM

I didn't expect things to be easy,but I feel kind of trapped. Am I just being a wimp?

Any useful advice or kind words? I've had all the harshness i can stand today.

I feel like the initial consultation should be about setting expectations for what you can expect to spend on your divorce and what you can expect the settlement to be. The attorney should be honest but not harsh.

It sounds like your attorney was harsh.

The simple fact is that divorces are relatively simple things... you take everything that you two of you had (assets and liabilities) and you split it in half. Divorces only get difficult when one person wants more than half.

Child support is usually done by a formula, which is based on income and custody percentages. Spousal maintenance varies more depending on the location, but it's somewhat similar in that the law should guide you.

My advice to you would be to not retain this attorney and go interview a different one or five. Find someone you like.

Gottagetthrough posted 11/5/2020 11:01 AM

Oh gosh, you got a bad one. Go see someone else. Are you a sahm? If so thats factored into alimony and time... how long have you been at home (ie, supporting his career).

No, this attorney sounds awful. You can find a much nicer one.

Lsja posted 11/5/2020 11:57 AM

Honestly I wasn't expecting anything sympathy from her. Just a little human decency. Yawning into the phone over and over was so rude. I'm sure they're not all like that, but it was also her eye rolling tone when I expressed my fear of being able to survive financially, while caring for our child and going back to school that made me fear the next steps. It almost makes me feel hopeless

I really don't expect it to be easy, and I don't just want things handed to me. I'm willing to work for a better life, but the glimpse I got yesterday makes it look like ill be homeless, with just a bare minimum coming in from child support and alimony.

I was even more discouraged when I spoke to someone today about the costs and time necessary to get 2 yr certification in the field I'm interested in. I want to put the time in, don't get me wrong, but I'd never be able to sleep or be there for my son if I'm working to keep a roof over our heads studying, doing classes, and clinicals. Classes and rotations are 8-5 so I'd have to work evenings, and how could I be a Mom? I don't have much family to rely on. I'm trying to stay calm when I just really want to panic.

I'm so angry with my husband for doing this to our lives.

Tigersrule77 posted 11/5/2020 12:50 PM

From what I hear, and my limited experience, it seems the first attorney is always the wrong one. My first attorney was bad. I moved on quickly to someone who would listen and proceed based on what we discussed, rather than what was convenient for them.

D is never easy, nor is being a single parent. It will be tough. Set your expectations low so you hopefully won't be negatively surprised.

I would suggest that you try to change your focus a little. Focus on the positives, even if that is only having a cheater and a liar out of your life.

Queen posted 11/10/2020 17:13 PM

I interviewed three different attorneys.

One was very discouraging. I remember just sobbing in the car. The amount of money she told me I would get was pathetic.

I went with a different attorney. A man who was level headed, calm and aggressive. I got almost double what that other attorney said I'd get.

I'm must better off now than I was when I was married, both financially and emotionally. Keep interviewing until you find one that you are comfortable with and feel like you can trust.

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