At your initial meeting with Westlake Village/Thousand Oaks Family law attorney Gary Mitchell, we will plan to accomplish four tasks:
The first thing I want to do is listen to you. As an experienced Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks family law attorney, I want to understand your needs. I know that divorce is one of the most stressful events you will ever experience. I want to take my time and listen to you, because what you may think is not important now, could be extremely important later. I understand that
Like any individual coping with a significant loss, you need to work through the five steps of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. If your spouse has sprung the divorce on you, you may be in the early stages of shock and denial. But even if the divorce was your decision, you will probably drift back and forth between the steps.
Listening to your situation will help me to learn what is important to you so that I can guide you to the best possible resolution of your case. Regardless of whether the divorce was your decision, or your spouse’s, you should know that you have options and a voice in the outcome.
After learning about you and your situation, next I like to discuss what we reasonably can expect to accomplish during your divorce. Family and friends may have told you about their experiences with divorce. Often, such well-meaning “advice” is inaccurate or downright wrong. Therefore, you may have unrealistic expectations or unnecessary anxieties. I will explain the law and the divorce procedure to you so that you know what to expect. You can then develop achievable goals that we can work together to realize.
Goals are important for two reasons. They help me to develop a strategy for representing you and they keep you involved in the case, as we work toward the desired outcome.
Establishing realistic goals may take a few meetings as you adjust to your new situation. Initially, many clients have no idea of what they want. Others have already formulated concrete objectives. For example, perhaps you want a specific item of property, like the family home, or you want to retain sole control over a family business. You may be concerned with improving your ability to work with your spouse in co-parenting your children.
Whatever goals you identify, my job as your Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks family law attorney is to analyze your case, determine which goals can be achieved and which need to be modified, and what steps must be taken to achieve them. I will advise you frankly what can and cannot be achieved through your divorce. I will not promise you something I know is unobtainable just to get your business.
If you decide you want me to represent you and I agree to take your case, we will next discuss the terms of the engagement. I will explain my fees and billing practices and outline the services I will be providing. These will all be contained in a written engagement agreement, which I will review with you and ask you to sign. I will also sign it and furnish you with a copy.
As we conclude our meeting, I will give you some homework. In California, both parties to a dissolution of marriage are required to complete comprehensive financial disclosure. I will ask you to compile some information about your finances and to gather some documents pertaining to you income, assets, and expenses. This information will enable you to prepare a budget and to refine your economic goals.
This information will be given to your spouse and his or her attorney. They are required to provide us with similar information. Collecting this data may seem tedious, but it is actually for your benefit. We will need it to resolve the financial issues in your divorce, such as child and spousal support and the division of property and debts.
If you are considering divorce or have been served with papers and would like to discuss your situation with a Westlake Village or Thousand Oaks family law attorney, please contact me. I look forward to meeting you and determining how I can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your unique circumstances.
Gary Mitchell, Attorney at Law
Westlake Village Divorce Lawyer
4195 East Thousand Oaks Blvd Suite 240
Westlake Village, California 91362