A free divorce consultation is a common method for connecting with a divorce lawyer when you want to opt for a cheap divorce.
Divorce, even just considering it as an option, is hard. For many of us, it’s the hardest thing we’ve ever done.
If you’re thinking that a divorce could be the right decision, or if you’re currently going through one, you’re dealing with difficult emotions and trying to process a very difficult situation. You probably have a thousand and one things you want to do or questions you want to ask.
The Myth of a ‘Cheap’ Divorce
It’s a very common approach when you want a divorce done as quickly and painlessly as possible. You don’t hate your spouse, so you want to keep the split as amicable as possible. Why do you need to bring in lawyers and drag things out, adding legal fees and other expenses on top of an already expensive process?
So, you skip the paid or free divorce consultation. You hope for a quickie divorce, one that can be over with so you can begin to heal.
It seems like a safe bet. Keep it short, as painless as possible, and limit the amount of money you spend.
That’s best for everyone, right?
Unfortunately, that can be a big risk. I know from personal experience. My simple, ‘keep it together’ divorce ended up spiraling. It became just as painful and expensive as what I was trying to avoid.
It’s not that a cheap, quickie divorce could never happen, it’s that it entails you taking on a lot of risk. If one partner decides things shouldn’t go as easily as planned then that one decision is all it takes to become a battlefield.
A paid or free divorce consultation not only helps you prevent a quickie divorce from spiraling into a brutal battle, it also lets you start gathering information. You want to be prepared with information from a professional, so you can start covering your bases and preparing to heal.
The only way to get that sort of information is by connecting with an expert at divorce.
The Benefits of a Free Divorce Consultation
A divorce is going to be unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. It can be stressful and emotionally damaging even when both parties mutually agree to it. That means that even the easiest divorce will be hard on everyone. And, because you go through one so rarely, there can be a thousand and one things you won’t be expecting.
So connecting with a divorce lawyer is your way of preparing for the worst. Even if you don’t know it yet, you need answers. Connecting with a lawyer gives you access to an expert who can answer your questions and prepare you for what lays ahead.
It can be tempting to think that we have the answers already, or that we will find them out when needed. But I can tell you, it’s no fun being wide awake at 2 AM almost paralyzed from fear because you’re stressing over something you don’t know the answer to.
A good consultation can be a life-saver because it gives you answers. Often, you’ll receive answers to questions you didn’t even know you had. Ones that would have kept you awake for hours into the night.
A divorce lawyer attends school specifically to prepare themselves for the many things that can occur during a divorce. And, unless you’re very unlucky, they will handle more divorces than you ever will. Even if you’ve done your research, a consultation with a professional can prepare you.
Don’t underestimate being prepared. As we said, a divorce is going to be hard, even if you and your spouse have decided to keep it as easy as possible. It will be painful and have emotional moments that can blindside you. Being prepared with the knowledge from a consultation can help you limit that pain and get started on moving on as soon as possible.
What About Free Consultations?
As you do your research into which divorce lawyer is right for you, you will see that a number offer a free consultation. Anywhere from half an hour to an hour, these consultations usually come without the obligation to hire the lawyer or continue a relationship with them.
Because they come with no cost and no upfront obligation, it can seem risk-free to schedule a free divorce consultation.
The reason divorce lawyers offer free consultations is because they want you to become a paying customer. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be sitting through a sales pitch. These consultations allow a lawyer to decide if your case is one that they will be able to assist with, so it’s beneficial for both parties.
A free divorce consultation can come without the stress of having to pay upfront for the information about the legal aspects of a divorce. If you’re concerned about money, that can be a lifesaver.
The Issues with Free Consultations
You’ve heard the saying.
There is no such thing as a free lunch.
Many people will have warning bells going off in their head when they hear the word ‘free’. That’s completely fair, because FREE does not always equal good.
Despite their popularity, free divorce consultations can come with a few risks. Theoretically, you could gain more value out of a free consultation than a paid one. However, you should be aware of the risks of opting for a free divorce consultation as opposed to a paid one.
Common Risks with Free Consultations with Divorce Lawyers
- A law office makes their money through billable hours, which means the hours they bill for have to make up for those they don’t. So even if you get a free consultation, you’ll pay for it somewhere (such as higher prices down the line). That isn’t a bad thing, but it is something to consider if money is one of your big objections to a paid consultation.
- Since some lawyers treat free consultations as a ‘lead generator’, they could feel compelled to take your case even if it’s not in your or their best interest.
- Similar to the last choice, a law office may treat a free consultation as an opportunity to ‘sell’ you their services. Instead of listening to your problems and providing guidance, they want to be hired before they can provide answers or strategies tailored to your specific situation.
- You may not necessarily meet with the lawyer who will be working with you should you decide to pay for legal services. Instead, your free consultation could be with a paralegal, admin, or other staff member. If you have specific legal questions, they may not be able to provide you with the advice you need to settle your mind.
- You could feel obligated to go with a divorce lawyer just because they provide a free consultation, as if you owe them a favor. Remember, you don’t need to feel as if you do if you would rather do more research and find another divorce lawyer. Especially if you don’t like the ways your consultation went.
The Secret to Making a Free Divorce Consultation Worth It
We don’t want to frighten you away from a free consultation or push you into choosing a paid one. Because you can get immense value from free consultations. Many times, a free divorce consultation can be just as valuable (if not more so) than a paid one.
Our recommendation is this. When you go into a free divorce consultation, you want to be prepared.
Because you’re going in for answers. So jot down every question that has been stressing you out. Every scenario you’ve thought could happen. Every concern. Make sure you have them ready to go when you walk into the office.
A paid consultation, in many cases, means that your consultant may handle more of the work for you. They’ll lead you into the right line of questions and can use their experience to decide what ‘prepackaged’ advice will be applicable to your situation.
Remember! Any good consultation, free or paid, will mean getting personal. So don’t feel like you can’t talk about specifics in your relationship, the hardships you’ve been dealing with, or share personal information.
Your questions will depend on your situation, but we’ve gathered a non-exhaustive list to get you started.
- What is the procedure for a divorce?
- What is the state’s rules on alimony?
- Could you have custody issues?
- How will your assets* need to be split?
- Which assets could be an issue?
Note: What counts as an asset?
- Bank Accounts
- Any Securities you own (such as stock or debt)
- Properties like Real Estate or other Rentals
- Anything you and your partner have accumulated over the years.
Great advice is what you’re looking for when you schedule a consultation. It doesn’t matter if it’s free or paid, as long as you are able to walk out of the office with answers.
Because those answers can save you so much more than money. With the knowledge they give you, they can protect you from a ton of heartbreak and pain.
Your divorce is going to be difficult, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to make it as smooth as possible. Because being prepared and taking the initiative is how you can begin to move on and start healing.