People often call our offices and ask, “When is the best time to hire a family lawyer?” There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question. We recommend that you come in and meet with one of our lawyers for a free half hour consultation. During the consultation you, we will give you our opinion as to whether and when you should hire a lawyer. It may be that the lawyer you speak with suggests that you don’t need a lawyer right away and simply provides you with information. Or it may become evident that you need a lawyer to assist you in taking steps in your family matter right away. Whatever your unique needs, it is our goal to ensure that you leave our offices with the information you need to make the choice that is right for you. We do recommend that you book your initial consultation as early as possible for many reasons: Time limits – Your ability to claim what should fairly be yours under British Columbia law is often linked to time frames. There may be litigation time limits that need to be considered and we therefore recommend that in order to prevent any unhappy surprises you don’t put off meeting with a lawyer.Stress – There is a lot of stress caused by the unknown. It is common for people to leave our offices after the first consultation empowered with knowledge and feeling like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders.Practical Suggestions – Sometimes it’s difficult for people to physically separate from their spouse. We can offer suggestions based on years of experience to make the separation with your spouse as seamless and comfortable as possible.Resources – We have the ability to refer you to other professionals and groups that may be able to assist you. In the age of the internet sometimes there is an overwhelming amount of information about separation. We can help you navigate through these resources.Preparation – When you separate from your spouse, many issues can be raised, from how children will be raised to how money will be provided to how assets will be divided. It is always best to have some knowledge of what steps will need to be taken and what documents will need to be collected. We can provide you with that information.Confidentiality – Our consultation is absolutely confidential. Sometimes people have thoughts of separating but do not want to talk to their family and friends until they have time to consider their options. A consultation with a lawyer allows you to open up about your situation and discuss possible options in a confidential setting.More Options – The earlier that you consult with a lawyer the more options you will have in moving forward in your matter. For example, if you wait till your spouse hires a lawyer you may be forced into a procedure. If you begin to canvas your options early, however, you will have more time to consider what procedure works best for your situation.There is a difference between meeting with a lawyer and hiring a lawyer. We really suggest that there is little to lose and everything to gain by meeting with a lawyer as early as possible. After that meeting, the question as to whether and when you should hire a lawyer should become far clearer.