Mirriored from My Latest Entry on live journal. Please tell me what you think and add any common horror story advice tips you have run into with your office.
Be it from looking in the phonebook, searching the vast darkness of the internet or trusting a recommendation from someone you know, you’ve gotten the number of an Attorney’s office.
A guide to what should happen after that:
1. KNOW WHAT YOU ARE CALLING ABOUT.
Either KNOW that you want a divorce, custody of a child, support for that child or for yourself, that you wish to become the Guardian of (or simply Adopt) that lovely child… OR Admit up front that you don’t know what you are talking about... and that you need help. The Receptionist is there to assist you, to get you through this difficult time, but don’t act like you know anything when you clearly do not. Do not tell the Receptionist what needs to be done. They know more about this than you do. Ignorance is fine; They are there to help.
2. BE PREPARED:
You called them, right? Why would you not have a pen?
If you have been served with divorce papers, why would you not have the papers in front of you?
Please read through the papers before you call. I am well aware that they are scary, ugly things. You don’t have to understand what you are reading, just read them. They will help you, but read them first.
3. NOT ALL AT ONCE:
This is a trying time for you.
The Receptionist is polite.
The Receptionist is asking you questions.
But did the Receptionist ask you for your life story?
Anyone who picks up the phone, is not in charge. While they may be helpful and perhaps deep-voiced and soothing, they are not the person who needs EVERYTHING. Save the EVERYTHING for the Attorney. The consultation is free, I promise.
4. MEET THEM:
The best way and the only way to know if you want to hire a particular Attorney is to meet with them.
Call, set up the appointment, ask a few questions, but decide after you come in, not before.
5. WE WORK HERE:
On behalf of all firms everywhere, I assure you they only ask questions because they need to know the answer. The Receptionist (or Paralegal or Attorney) is not asking you for ______ because he or she is in a curious mood. They do this for a living. They are asking you because they need to know. And, honestly, you are not getting past the gate without giving them this information.
(yes, before your first appointment, before you know them from Adam):
Your phone number;
The name of the other person (Husband, Wife, Father, Mother);
What city you live in (residency requirements apply);
If anything has been filed with the court;
Which court that was (in which city);
If there is a court date;
The reason for the court date; and much more.
You do not have to memorize the questions, but do not question why they are being asked. We work here