When you make the decision to seek legal advice from a family lawyer it makes sense to ensure that the time you spend with them, whether that is in face to face meetings, telephone discussions or via email is as productive as possible. After all it is the lawyer’s time that you are buying.
If you are attending an initial consultation, be sure to pull together all the information and documentation that you have available on the matter before going to the meeting.
Being unprepared for the appointment could mean that instead of receiving the specialist advice you are seeking, instead you leave the meeting on a ‘fact finding’ mission to seek out documents or information your lawyer has requested so he or she can provide advice on the matter. Worse yet; are you simply paying the law firm to do things that you could have done yourself had you spent some time preparing?
Depending on the particular matter you are seeking advice on, some money saving tips to note include the following:
- Have 3 real estate agents conduct a market appraisal of your home to get an indication of its value.
- Do a similar exercise for any vehicles, motorcycles, boats or other key assets you own. Redbook.com.au is a good place to start in order to gain an understanding or what the asset is worth in today’s market.
- Obtain valuations for superannuation funds you and your former spouse have by using a Form 6 Declaration and a Superannuation Information Request Form. These forms are available in a ‘Kit’ which provides further information and explanations. This can be found on the Family Law Courts website.
- Prepare a Statement identifying all your personal and joint Assets and Liabilities as well as a summary Financial Statement (the figures on this should match up to the appraisals you have received)
- Be organised:
- Keep any court documentation you have in a file, with relevant descriptive dividers, ideally filed in date order with the most recent items on the top.
- The same goes for any relevant financial information e.g. bank statements, tax returns, valuations.
- Remember that lawyers charge for their time, whether it is time spent on the phone to you, drafting advice, sending emails or representing you in court. A good tip to remember is that instead of sending many emails, or phoning multiple times for each issue as it arises, wherever possible why not group your queries together, and send them all at the one time.
- Ask your lawyer to blind copy (BCC) you in on all the email correspondence that is sent to the other party, so you are up to date on where the matter is at and this will avoid you having to incur additional charges to have each e-mail to the other party forwarded as a separate e-mail to you.
Engaging in just a small amount of preparation when working with your lawyer is a worthwhile investment, paying dividends in the form of a smooth flow of information and cost savings to you as the client.
Please don’t hesiate to contact us should you have any queries.
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