What to Expect
We get it...
The prospect of navigating your family law matter can seem overwhelming and stressful, especially if you’ve never worked with our firm, or any other, before. But since the antidote to uncertainty is knowledge, we’re breaking down all the steps in our process for you here — so you know exactly what to expect up front.
When you get in touch with us, a member of our client care team will greet you and ask some questions to make sure we’re the right firm for you.
If we’re not able to assist with your matter (due to case location, case type, or for any other reason), we’ll do our best to provide trusted attorney referrals or recommendations for additional services.
If we are able to assist you with your family law matter, we’ll gather a few basic details before informing you of your next steps, which typically includes booking your Initial Case Assessment.
The Initial Case Assessment costs $450. We will send you a secure link to pay for your consultation before scheduling your phone appointment with our Client Relationship Manager, as well as your meeting (virtual or in person) with an attorney.
Your Initial Case Assessment (“ICA”)
ICAs can be done virtually via Zoom from anywhere in the world, or in person in our office in Rockville.
Before your ICA, you’ll connect with our Client Relationship Manager over the phone, who will gather the basic details of your case, and ask you about your goals for your legal matter, and life after your case is resolved. This meeting can last up to an hour and is a significant step in getting to know you, and ensures you can focus your time with an attorney on figuring out the best path forward.
The CRM will relay this information to an attorney ahead of your meeting so the two of you can focus on legal questions during your appointment instead of rehashing basic background.
You will meet with the attorney for 60 minutes to identify your goals and strategize about ways to get there — whether or not that includes working with ZFL.
You’ll walk out of your ICA feeling informed and empowered to move forward.
Ready to move forward with Z Family Law? At this point, our Client Relationship Manager will work with you to:
Sign an engagement agreement specific to your matter.
Pay your initial deposit, the price of which will be dependent on your matter and legal goals.
Sign the credit card authorization form to place a card on file with us.
Once you’ve completed the engagement agreement, paid your retainer, and signed the credit card authorization form, our Client Relationship Manager will connect you with your legal team.
Step 4: Your Representation
While what happens throughout the course of your legal journey can vary widely based on your case, goals, and circumstances, here’s what typically transpires in many matters we handle:
In most (but not all) cases, the first step is a Kick-Off Strategy Meeting (“KOSM”) during which you will meet your legal team, review the facts of your case, set your goals, and determine what legal strategy will get you there.
Following the strategy meeting, we’ll provide a written summary of the conversation.
For time-sensitive matters, such as protective orders or emergency motions, there may not be a kick-off strategy meeting, and instead, your legal team will begin work immediately to ensure deadlines are met.
From there, next steps depend largely on your specific matter, but you can expect regular communication from your legal team updating you on any developments in your case.
Your legal team may also begin communicating with the other party and/or any opposing counsel.
Depending on the status of your case and the legal strategies in place, we’ll begin negotiations, do our due diligence in exchanging discovery, and/or pursue litigation.
In many cases, your counsel will ask you to begin gathering documents for discovery, and may ask you to complete certain documents such as the Long Form Financial Statement.
Your legal team will continue to move your case forward by adhering to any court deadlines, appearing in court with you or on your behalf as needed, and taking any other necessary steps to meet your legal goals.
The timeline of a family law case can vary widely by case type, court status, and other factors that may be out of our control, and there’s no way to know exactly how long your case will take. However, you can expect that through regular communications, your legal team will keep you apprised of any updates and provide guidance on your options at any given time.
Our attorneys collaborate on each and every matter within the firm. While you will have an assigned legal team, you will benefit from the combined knowledge and experience of all of our lawyers.
At any time during your case, our client care team is available to assist you in non-billable matters, such as connecting you with concierge services to help keep your life moving in the midst of your matter, or answering questions about your bill.
Most cases end either through settlement or by going to trial.
Once the court recognizes that your matter has concluded by issuing final judgment or entering a consent order, we will conduct a review of your file to ensure there are no outstanding items to complete. At this stage, we’ll also ask whether you’re ready to close your case with Z Family Law or if you need further representation.
Once you confirm you’re ready for your case to be closed, we will begin initiating formal closure procedures including issuing the final invoice for your review, drafting an administrative closing letter, authorizing any refund of your deposit, and returning any original documents, if applicable. On average, closure procedures take about two weeks.
We keep your file electronically for five years, in compliance with attorney regulations.
We celebrate your new beginning!
Step 6: Your New Beginning and Beyond
After your matter has concluded and we part ways, Z Family Law will keep in touch with you and remain available — whether you have further legal needs or want referrals for other services.
Please note that in some matters, for whatever reason, you may wish to switch lawyers and/or retain another firm to represent you. If this is the case, please inform us of your decision as soon as possible so we can advise you of your options in accordance with the attorney rules of professional conduct.