When you shop for a Family Law Attorney, you have a choice to choose or not choose to pay for a consultation fee. A consultation fee is a one-time fee charged by a Family Law Attorney when you schedule an initial consultation appointment to discuss the facts surrounding your case with him/her. An average consultation fee will cost you approximately $100.00, although it could be higher or lower. Why would anyone opt to pay a consultation fee? Here is both my answer and opinion on the matter.

So my answer? Consultation appointments are extremely important. You get to interview an Attorney and find out how comfortable you will be in working with him or her. The Attorney-Client relationship is extremely important; both of you will be sharing personal information regarding overall financial and personal relationship issues. A good consultation appointment is one where you walk away with your specific initial questions answered and get an idea of how you now wish to proceed forward. Whether you were charged for a consultation fee or not, you are never under any obligation to retain the services of any Attorney once the consultation appointment has taken place.

So what should you do? What’s my opinion about a free consultation versus a paid one?


Most free consultations are generalized and vague. You will likely receive information advising you that California is a community property state, followed by general information on how Family Law rules are applied in California. Unfortunately, this is often followed up, in a free consultation, by advising you that you are required to retain the services of the “free consultation Attorney” in order to discuss the specific issues involved in your case. Now, if you schedule a consultation appointment with a Family Law Attorney who charges a consultation fee, he or she will immediately address your specific issues and answer any questions you have regarding these specific issues. At the end of a paid for consultation, you will be armed with specific knowledge concerning your case, as well as reviewing all options available to you under your circumstances.

Deciding to end a marital relationship, or obtaining court orders in a Paternity action, is a very important decision to arrive at. Oftentimes, obtaining a consultation appointment involves having to take time off work. It is frustrating to feel that you must seek a second consultation appointment if your initial one doesn’t provide you with the answers you are looking for. It is my opinion, therefore, that you are best served by a consultation appointment that is as informative as possible. In some cases, your consultation appointment is that point in time that you decide whether you wish to move forward with a Dissolution of Marriage or Paternity action. You are relying on the knowledge and experience of the Attorney you meet with to answer the questions that are most important to you. Therefore, you obviously want the most productive consultation you can obtain. Moreover, if you are seeking to retain an Attorney to assist you with your Dissolution of Marriage or Paternity action, keep in mind that a consultation fee will likely prove well worth the cost.

If you want to hear more about the latest information about a consultation fee, please contact our office. The Law Office of Bawden and Kochis handles cases with family law issues regarding adoption, annulment, mediation, domestic violence, pensions, child custody, child and spousal support as well as pre-marital and post-marital agreements. Telephone (909)792-0222, or email us at [email protected]

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