Frequently Asked Questions About McKenna Family Law
McKenna Family Law is located at 1001 East Walnut Street, Suite 301A, Columbia, Missouri 65201. The office is on the second floor of The Walnut Building on the northeast corner of Tenth and Walnut, two blocks east of the Boone County Courthouse. View a map of our location.
Many people are not having their best day when they need to visit with a family law attorney. I understand that and want to spend the time it takes to fully understand your situation and your concerns. I find that people often feel much more empowered with more information, and stress reduces as questions are answered. At an initial consultation, I meet with you either face-to-face at the office or by telephone if you live out-of-town. You will probably have a lot of questions about the legal problem you are facing and what to expect. At McKenna Family Law, the consultation is an in-depth analysis of your situation. It is not a free meet and greet. You should plan for your initial consultation to last about 1.5 hours. We will go over the details of your situation and the facts of your case. I will discuss each step of the legal process required for your particular type of matter and address all the questions you have.
If it is a divorce, I will explain the law as it relates to equitable division of property under Missouri law and answer your questions. We will go through your assets and debts and discuss your plan for your home and any real estate you own. I will get information from you to determine whether certain assets are marital, non-marital, or mixed. We will discuss treatment of bank accounts, retirement assets, vehicles, and all other property and debts.
If children are involved in your matter, we will have a detailed discussion on your objectives for physical custody, legal custody, and child support issues. I will explain the applicable law in these areas as it relates to your child's best interests.
We will discuss whether your case will involve a request for maintenance, either long-term or temporary. If you or your spouse may be a candidate for maintenance, we will have a more in-depth discussion of the law as it relates to spousal maintenance in Missouri and what your case will likely entail.
For other legal matters, we will similarly go over the situation you are facing and your range of options. If you have a matter for which you should hire an attorney to represent you and proceed, we will talk about details of the representation, like the costs that will likely be involved, and the attorney-client relationship.
If you have been served with legal papers or have received something indicating that someone has already filed a legal action, you need to bring with you the papers you received. If you are consulting about a divorce, you should gather enough information to know the approximate value of your assets and accounts, as well as your debts. If you do not have access to financial information, that is okay. If you are consulting about child custody or child support issues, it is helpful if you have approximate gross income information for both parents, the cost of the child's health insurance coverage, and daycare costs. For the initial consultation, I do not need detailed records or financial information, but it is a good idea for you to make a list or at least familiarize yourself with the assets and debts that you and your spouse have so we can discuss their treatment in the divorce process.
It is common for someone to ask to bring a spouse, friend, or family member to their consultation. When you meet with an attorney alone, that conversation is privileged, which means that no one can compel either the attorney or the client to disclose what was discussed, with very limited exceptions. When a third party is in the room, that privilege goes away. Because I want to protect your rights at the outset, it is my personal preference that you and I meet alone. However, I certainly understand if you would like to have a person to provide you moral support or to serve as another pair of ears or even take notes during the consultation. You do need to be aware that the conversation will no longer be privileged and understand the potential implications of waiving the privilege by having another person present. You also need to make sure you can discuss your situation openly and honestly in front of the person you bring with you. If you choose to bring someone with you to your appointment, I will first meet with you individually and then give you the option of having the other person join us after we have discussed the implications of having a third party present. Children should not attend your consultation.
When you contact my office, we will have to make sure I would not have a conflict of interest in meeting with you. For example, if I have represented your opposing party in the past, I will likely not be able to represent you or serve as a mediator in your case. My office will do a conflicts check to make sure we do not have a conflict of interest in meeting with you.
After we have had an initial consultation and have gone over the details of your situation, I will let you know the advance deposit or "retainer" that will be required if we decide to work together. Your deposit is held by the firm and used to pay your legal fees as they come due each month. Your retainer is not an estimate of the total fees to be incurred in your case; it is an initial deposit, and additional deposits will likely be required during the course of your case. You will also sign a retainer agreement and an engagement letter that sets out terms of the representation and certain obligations we will have to one another.
I routinely serve clients in Boone County, but I also represent clients in Callaway, Cooper, and Randolph Counties.
I routinely represent people who live in other cities or states, so long as their matter is pending in one of the mid-Missouri counties for which I accept cases. If your matter is in Boone county because your children live here for example, I can represent you even if you live in another state. If you are not sure where your matter should proceed, we will need to discuss your situation and which court will have jurisdiction over your case.
Yes. Most clients prefer to meet face-to-face, but I frequently schedule telephone consultations with parties who are not local.
Yes. Quite frequently, I consult with people who are seeking legal information only. They do not need legal representation right away but are gathering the information they need to better inform themselves of their legal options, to make a plan, or simply learn their rights. They may not want to proceed with legal action right away, or I may suggest that they need to do certain things before they proceed. I am happy to consult with people as many times as they like as their situation changes or as they need. If we consulted in the past, but time has gone by, it is a good idea to schedule another meeting to go over your updates and objectives. After you retain me as your attorney, we will of course continue to meet as your case requires.