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Should I bring friends to a meeting with my attorney?

Divorce proceedings are incredibly complicated, especially when children are involved. It makes sense that you need to find an attorney who balances legal skills with the right demeanor.

Many people rely on friends and family for emotional support and to help find the right lawyer for their specific situation. However, should you bring a friend or relative to an initial consultation with a lawyer?

Think twice before inviting emotional support

Most people bring friends or relatives to consultations as a form of emotional support. They see the additional company as a way to keep themselves comfortable and focused during a difficult period. However, bringing another person to a consultation may undermine your experience with attorneys.

For example, a third party may hinder the meeting by acting as your voice or pushing their ideas of what you should do. You don't want your sibling or best friend to dictate what you need from a divorce settlement.

Also, there is the matter of attorney/client privilege. One of the main benefits of hiring a lawyer during a divorce is your information is protected during meetings with your attorney under attorney/client privilege. Your attorney cannot spill details you divulge to them in confidence.

However, if you bring a third party to your consultation, it nullifies the privilege - which inherently limits an open conversation between the attorney and the potential client. It also puts you in an awkward position if you should let your lawyer know embarrassing or private information that you do not want family members or friends to know.

The best strategy is to leave family and friends at home. Go into each attorney consultation with an open mind. Take notes to help you recall the details of the meeting. If you need emotional support, carve out time each week to meet with people and discuss your feelings in a safe environment. Remember that choosing a lawyer is a serious decision but not a social occasion.

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