How to Prepare for an Initial Meeting with a Family Law Solicitor

14th March 2024

An initial meeting with a family solicitor can be a very daunting prospect. For some, it will be the first time you have expressed out loud what has led to your current circumstances. The thought of discussing such personal matters with a stranger might feel uncomfortable. You should rest assured that solicitors will be accustomed to helping clients navigate difficult situations and will not pass any judgement on your situation. Below are some tips to help you feel more at ease and get the most out of your initial meeting.

Booking an initial meeting

When booking an initial meeting, you should  do so at a time that is convenient for you. Face-to-face meetings are helpful, and increasingly, solicitors are happy to meet ‘out of hours’ to help clients find a time that suits them. If the meeting is to be remote, you should try to ensure that you are in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.

What should you bring?


You may need to bring proof of identification and proof of address, although a number of firms (including ours) now asks clients to provide their ID online prior to any meeting.


It might be helpful to prepare a chronology of events in advance of the meeting, because this will help you remember key dates which might serve as a reminder to discuss issues you might otherwise have forgotten.

You should start your chronology from when you met your spouse/ partner and continue to the present day. You could include as a starting point: the date on which you started living together, the date of marriage, the date on which you purchased the family home, the date of birth of any children and the date of separation. Of course, some of these may not apply.

Relevant documents

If there are any relevant documents, then sending these in advance can give the solicitor a better understanding of the background. The solicitor will have more time to review these documents ahead of the meeting, meaning that the meeting can be more productive, as the solicitor will already have a general understanding of your current circumstances. This is by no means essential, however, and you may feel more comfortable explain the background first, and providing any relevant documents afterwards. Documents might include your marriage certificate, a prenuptial agreement, any financial orders, child arrangement orders, a declaration of trust, or any documents with which you have been served. If your spouse/partner’s solicitor has sent you any correspondence, you should also let your solicitor have a copy.

Information regarding your finances

We are used to seeing clients who aren’t fully aware of their, or their spouse’s, financial situation. This is perfectly normal. If, however, you have some understanding of the finances, then a summary can be helpful. You might wish to consider: the value of the family home (and any mortgage secured on it) and any other properties, bank account balances in your sole name and in joint names, any savings, investments, pensions, debts, and details of your respective incomes.


We understand that emotions can run high when attempting to resolve all sorts of disputes surrounding the children and we want to help you move forward. If you are coming to see us regarding time with your children, we will need to understand the current position regarding the time the children spend with each parent and what it is that you would like to achieve. Any previous orders or contact schedules would be useful, as are any professional reports that may have been undertaken would be helpful to see.


You may want to note down some questions you have before the meeting, in case your anxiety gets the better of you and you forget some of the issues that you wanted to discuss. We understand, however, that the situation in which you now find yourself can feel very overwhelming, so if you do forget something, please do not worry, as you can follow up with an email or a call after the meeting.

Should you come alone?

Depending on how you are feeling, you may wish to bring a trusted friend or family member to the meeting for moral support. You may want them to take down notes during the meeting, so that you can concentrate on what is being said. We can provide you with a letter of advice following our meeting, covering what has been discussed, if you are concerned you won’t remember everything.

No question is a silly question

We are experienced in all areas of family law, but we recognise that this is likely to be the first time that you have been in this situation and the law can be quite hard to navigate. A meeting is your time to get clarity with regard to your options within the framework of the law. It is important that you understand the advice we give you and so we fully expect you to ask questions throughout our initial meeting, and afterwards.


There is unlikely to be just one way to resolve the issues you face.  Your solicitor should give you some different options and, at the very least, a broad estimate of costs that you are likely to incur, depending on which route you opt for.


If you proceed to instruct us, following our initial meeting, we will want to correspond with you. You should ensure that you have a private email address that your spouse, or partner, cannot access, or consider setting up a new one, for this purpose.

Finally, you should remember that a family solicitor is there to help you understand the complexities of family law and advise you as to how to proceed in order to get the best outcome for you, whatever that may be, ensuring your interests are protected, so that you can move forward with your life.