How to Prepare For a Family Law Consultation

a woman with a cup of coffee in one hand and writing in a book with the other.

By Allison McAlpine

We are a family law firm in Barrie, Ontario dealing with issues arising from a separation or divorce.  If you are going through a separation or divorce the first step in working with a lawyer is an initial consultation.  Our firm offers one-hour consultations in which we go over the background to your case, present you with options and advice regarding your rights and obligations, and present you with a plan for moving forward with your case including potential costs.

There’s a lot to go through during that hour.  When potential clients call our office to book a consultation, they often ask us what they need to do to prepare for the meeting.  Here are a few tips:

  • Income Information: Know what yours and your ex-partner’s income is or a good approximation. This will help your lawyer provide you with advice relating to child and spousal support during the consultation.
  • Information Relating to Assets and Debts: Bring a summary of yours and your ex-partner’s assets and debts and the values for same (if known) on date of separation and date of marriage.  This will help your lawyer provide you with advice relating to equalization and property division during the consultation.
  • Information relating to Parenting: Bring a summary of yours and your ex-partner’s current parenting schedule, if applicable. Lawyers want to know what schedule you’ve been following in the past, for how long, and things that have been working or not working with the schedule.  You should also have an idea of your ideal parenting schedule and the reasons why you want that schedule.
  • A list of specific questions you have: The hour consultation can go by fast, and can be overwhelming for many clients.  It helps if you have a written list of questions that you prepare before the consultation and bring with you.  That way you won’t forget and you will ensure that your more pressing questions get answered.   Sometimes, your lawyer cannot answer your question during the hour because it requires more investigation or information that simply cannot be gathered in an hour consult.  If that is the case, your lawyer will let you know what information is needed, and the steps to obtain it, in order to provide you with an answer to your question.

If you would like to book a consultation with our firm, please contact our office at 705-302-3696 or  The consultation is a no-obligation meeting, meaning that you are not required or pressured to hire us as your lawyers.  We understand that it’s an information gathering tool for you to make decisions going forward.

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