I love motorcycles. I fell in love when I was 7 years old, and the love has never died. I’ve come close a couple times, but it hasn’t.
Recently, I got the chance to go to Las Vegas to rent a GS 1200 BMW motorcycle. Riding one is like riding a highly-charged sports car, but with only two wheels. Think wheelies and incredibly quick acceleration and the smoothest ride you’ve ever had.
When I was about to leave the rental facility, a young man that knew much more about that bike than I did gave me an orientation. Luckily, he didn’t address the things that are pretty much standard on all bikes – like where the brakes and gear shift lever are – he spent time teaching me things like how to start the bike, how to lock the bike, how to unlock the bike, and how to get into the locking fuel cap, which are all very different than on other bikes. He also taught me how to read the gauges, which are similar to other bikes, but much more complex than I had ever had to deal with on any other bike.
At the end of the orientation, he said, “Okay?” and waited for my response.
The natural thing to say would have been “Okay,” and then watch him walk away and leave me with this thing that could make my life very miserable if I didn’t understand it.
Luckily, I didn’t listen to the little voice in my head that said, “Don’t ask a stupid question,” instead I said, “Could you go over those things one more time and let me make sure I’ve got it?”
He was glad to, we did, and I made sure I understood everything about the bike before I left. When I was a couple hours from the dealership, it was dark, and I was in the middle of no-where, I was glad I had.
Your divorce or custody case is like that motorcycle. If you don’t understand it, you can make bad decisions or no decision, and end up in a terrible situation.
A consultation that is worth your time and worth the cost should cover the unique facts of your case, the law that applies to your unique situation, and the options that you have for dealing with it. And, at some point before you and the attorney part ways – whether you hire him or her or not, you should have a chance to ask questions.
In the Marine Corps, they used to tell us, “People say ‘there are no stupid questions,’ yes there are and don’t ask them.” A consultation with an attorney is not Marine Corps training – you should not simply be told the way things are going to be. And it should not just be a sales pitch or the equivalent of a prescription from a doctor – “You need a divorce!”
A Divorce Consultation or a Custody Consultation should leave you in a position of understanding precisely what is happening to you legally, and what your choices are. Then it should help you make informed decisions about what is best for you and your family.
When you have your consultation, don’t listen to the little voice telling you just to nod along. Ask the questions that you need to ask to feel comfortable and confident before you start down that long road.