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Preparing for your first meeting with a family solicitor

The first meeting can feel intimidating. It’s a significant moment, possibly because it brings home the fact that your situation has reached breaking point.  You might need a divorce, advice with financial issues or help with the arrangements for your children. You might be suffering from domestic abuse and need an emergency Injunction to protect you. The discussion might be difficult and upsetting.  For some, it’s a relief. The tissues are often within reach during the first consultation.  This blog will therefore hopefully help you take that first brave step and get the very most out of your first solicitor meeting.

Please understand that it’s ok to be upset. As a lawyer with about 30 years’ experience, I am used to emotional moments and I am there to listen and support.  I am personally in awe of clients at that first meeting. It’s a huge leap of faith to trust someone with intimate details of your life and I always listen carefully. Your story is extremely important and I personally feel privileged when you share it with me.  It can sometimes be an important factor in the outcome of your case.

The purpose of that first meeting is to gain an understanding of how the law applies to you.  You won’t receive an answer at the first meeting but often I can show you how to find the answer or give you an alternative.  I will need some facts and dates from you such as names, addresses, children’s names and ages. The length of marriage and how long you have lived together before you married is also important.  It’s good to have a rough idea of the value of your house, what you owe on the mortgage and a figure for your total assets. Knowing your income and liabilities will also help.  Pensions are more complicated. I will need a CETV for each pension but don’t worry if not available yet. At the first meeting, I just need an idea of what schemes there are and roughly how long you have paid into them.  Other documents might be appropriate, such as Pre-nuptial Agreements, a Declaration of Trust or a Court Order.  However, you don’t need to bring reams of paperwork to that first meeting.  The evidence comes later and I will guide you through that bit when it’s time.

There are several purposes to that first meeting.  You will learn how the law applies to your case, you might clarify your goals and priorities and I will tell you whether your expectations are realistic.  I will advise you about Court and we will explore alternative dispute resolution options, such as mediation or collaborative family law. You will know your options.

My own goal during the meeting is to ensure you leave reassured and better informed than when you arrived. I also hope to establish a rapport with you, as trust and open communication are the foundations for a successful client-lawyer partnership. It is then up to you.  Take as long as you need.  You should only proceed when you are truly ready and have found the right support.

Get in touch

If you would like family law advice and wish to arrange your first meeting, please do contact me on 01924 291122 or email me at

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Rachel SteadRachel Stead
13:19 26 Nov 23
Can’t recommend Catteralls enough. Eleanor, Claire and her team have just helped us with a recent house sale. They were quick and efficient with responses. Even with me ringing and emailing plenty (very annoying) but nothing was too much for them. They did all things on our side promptly and kept us in the loop at all times. Will be recommending them and using again in future if needed.Thanks so much.Rachel and Harry.
Russ TebayRuss Tebay
17:20 04 Nov 23
Good service at a reasonable price
Andrew ElsbyAndrew Elsby
07:30 16 Oct 23
Personal touch. Well organised and knowledgeable.
Allison RobinsonAllison Robinson
13:53 02 Oct 23
We used Catterall's for the sale of a property and had excellent service throughout. Everything was done promptly, efficiently and accurately. We had experienced lots of errors with a previous firm and saw a marked contrast in the quality of service and professionalism from Catteralls. Danielle and Sue were knowledgable and helpful and were able to answer questions about the errors from the purchase of the property with a different firm so that we could move forwards quickly with the sale. Prices were reasonable and competitive but I would choose the firm again regardless of price because of the experience. It is the second time we have used the firm (previously for a different purchase) and I can highly recommend them.
08:59 17 Sep 23
My wife and I engaged Catteralls Solicitors conveyancing services to both sell our old house and to buy our new house. We can thoroughly recommend their services in this regard. In particular we would like to give excellent feedback to Ms Eleanor Parkin, our Conveyancing Executive at Catteralls, who dealt with us throughout the buying and selling process. Some aspects of that process became problematic but Eleanor went above and beyond that which was expected of her and ensured that any problems were resolved effectively and efficiently to ensure a smooth completion. Our engagement with her was always friendly and professional and we would be happy to recommend her professional services to others. Thank you, Eleanor!
Caroline WilsonCaroline Wilson
13:13 25 Jul 23
Thank you Catteralls for helping us with our recent house sale!! I will certainly recommend you to family and friends.Catteralls would be the first solicitor I came to if I needed any help in the future! Thanks again for everything. Fantastic communication, making a hard time in our lives that much easier. I can not fault a thing.☺️
22:51 17 Jun 23
I've used these for the sale of a rental property and my will and am also currently using them for a purchase of a residential property. Used them because my usual solicitors let me down. I can't comment on price because I didn't really shop around. A family member recommended them, and they've been good for me so far. Here, I've never felt like I haven't been able to speak to someone when I've needed to and they've always been on hand to explain anything I didn't understand. So far so good.
Kevin SlatteryKevin Slattery
09:53 08 Jun 23
Jenny and her team, saved the day after our sale and purchase almost fell through due to the poor performance of our previous solicitor. She was responsive, highly efficient and keep us informed throughout the whole process. We would only use Catteralls for any future conveyancing requirements. Many thanks Jenny, Sarah and the rest of the team!
14:24 09 Mar 23
Jess looked after my case. It was most helpful in that I was able to do everything via email, so all I had to do on the day was sign some paperwork, therefore only needing to make the one visit, which was perfect for me.Jess was efficient & organised and made the process a smooth one.Thanks Jess I appreciate all you did for me. 🙂
Aneka RandallAneka Randall
17:04 09 Dec 22
Paul and his team have worked on our sale and purchase. The team have all worked extremely hard, going above an beyond. Everyone in the chain has commented how efficient they have been. I will certainly recommend to family and friends and would be the first solicitor I came to if I needed any help in the future! Thanks again.
Jade NuttJade Nutt
20:07 02 Nov 22
Jenny and her team were brilliant with our house sale and purchase. They answered all our queries, made sure we understood everything and kept things moving along. We are very great full for your hard work! Thank you!