How do I schedule an initial consultation?
I understand that the breakdown of a relationship, being served with a court application or the involvement of a child welfare agency may leave you feeling stressed, confused and overwhelmed. You may have a number of questions and concerns that may be preventing you from taking the next steps in your matter. I believe it may be helpful for you to meet with a family lawyer in order to obtain information with respect to the options that may be available to you and your family.
What is the purpose of the initial consultation?
The purpose of the initial consultation is to gather the background and history of your family in order to determine the outstanding legal issues. Once I have determined the outstanding legal issues, my goal is to provide you with information regarding the various methods of dispute resolution available to you such as collaborative law, negotiation, mediation, arbitration and litigation. Not every matter should proceed or continue before a Court, therefore I will do my best to assist you in determining the appropriate dispute resolution path based on your goals, needs and financial resources.
What you will NOT get out of the initial consultation?
All matters have varying degrees of complexity and a unique set of facts. Accordingly, it is difficult for me to gather in such a short period of time all the relevant information and documents that would enable me to provide you with specific legal advice. Accordingly, you will not be receiving any specific legal advice from me at the initial consultation.
What types of questions will you be asked at the initial consultation?
The types of question that you will be asked will depend on your legal issues. I will likely ask you about:
- the reason you are seeking legal assistance;
- information about your children, if any;
- the nature of your relationship;
- the date when your relationship began and ended;
- the roles played by each spouse during the relationship;
- the income of both you and the other party;
- the assets and liabilities for both you and the other party;
- the existence of any domestic contract or court order;
- the existence of any criminal or child welfare proceedings;
- the existence of any domestic violence;
- whether the you have attended relationship counseling;
- whether there is a chance that you may reconcile.
Will we be discussing the costs of legal services during the initial consultation?
I understand that it is important for you to consider the legal costs associated with any legal action. Accordingly, I will be providing you with information such as my retainer process and the retainer agreement that may be best suited for your needs in addition to my hourly rates and disbursement costs. Unfortunately, I cannot provide you with an estimate in terms of the total costs associated with reaching a final resolution.
If you have a Legal Aid certificate, I will be providing you with information regarding my retainer process and the scope of your Legal Aid certificate.
I believe that choosing your lawyer is a very important decision, therefore I will be encouraging you to take the information I have provided to you and think about whether I am the right fit for you. I understand it may take you time to determine whether you wish to retain the services of a lawyer. It is very important to understand that until you have signed a retainer agreement with me and provided me with your retainer fee, I will not take any legal steps on your behalf or keep any documents in my possession. This means if there are deadlines that must be met, it is your responsibility to meet them, not mine as I cannot act for you until I am properly retained.
What information and documents should I bring to the initial consultation?
I suggest that you arrive at the initial consultation 15 minutes prior to your scheduled time, as I will be requesting that you complete my intake form if you have not already done so.
The Law Society of Upper Canada requires me to gather certain basic information about you and to verify your identity therefore please bring a piece of photo identification with you such as a valid driver’s license or a passport.
In addition, I may also ask you for additional information to help me determine the options available to you to try to resolve your legal issues. Some of this additional information may include:
- the status of your court matter, if any;
- the existence of any children of the relationship or children who are dependents of either you or your former spouse (their full legal names and dates of birth);
- copies of any existing domestic contracts such as a marriage contract or cohabitation agreement;
- employment information for you and your former spouse;
- significant assets or liabilities belonging to either you or your former spouse; and
- copies of any court orders in force and effect.
What is the cost of the initial consultation?
I charge a flat fee of $120.00, inclusive of HST, for a 30-minute consultation. If you have a valid Legal Aid certificate, there is no charge for the initial consultation.
Where do the initial consultations take place?
All my initial consultations take place at my office. I do not provide any initial consultations by telephone or email.