When you contact a divorce lawyer, the first thing you should expect is that the lawyer will ask some basic information from you to run a conflicts check.
A conflicts check is an internal search through the law firm’s database to make sure that there is no conflict with the lawyer speaking with you. The basic information generally requested is your full name, your spouse’s full name, any prior names either of you have used, and the names of any businesses either of you own.
Assuming there is no conflict you can schedule an initial consultation with the lawyer. It is customary for divorce lawyers in the DC Metropolitan Area to charge for initial consultations. The practice of charging for consultations is for many reasons. Lawyers are service based so they charge for their time. Also, with the volume of practice in a city, lawyers could probably spend 40 hours per week giving free consultations. In addition, lawyers charge for consultations to guard against the practice of individuals who choose to meet with several lawyers but do not intend to use them, and instead are taking meetings to conflict their spouse out from being able to use that lawyer and their firm.
To find out what to expect at an initial consultation, see my article on What to Expect at an Initial Consultation with a Divorce Lawyer.