An initial consultation session with a divorce lawyer is quite beneficial for individuals seeking the divorce. Most lawyers practicing divorce law offer a free initial consultation session allowing their clients to schedule a time period to meet them in person.
Preparation in advance is the key to ensure an efficient and effective discussion. Although many lawyers do not prefer providing direct legal advice to clients in their initial meeting, having the correct information will ensure an effective discussion. It helps the attorney get a deeper and better insight into your case.
Here’s how you would prepare for the initial consultation session with a divorce attorney:
1. Wish List
Try to prepare a divorce settlement wish list. Clearly mention the provisions you would want. Try recording your top 10 desires. Now let your lawyer know about this list. It will help him understand your goals.
2. Debts and Assets
For a divorce case, it is important to have the schedule of debts and assets. This form needs to be completed before the court grants dissolution of marriage. So make sure you get the document as soon as possible. It will help the attorney during an initial consultation. This schedule prepares a list of all separate as well as community debts and assets including supporting documentation.
A consultation session is also about solving any queries you may have regarding the case. Carry along a list of these queries. You can use the first meeting to voice some of the most pressing worries. Some of the most common queries asked by people include if the potential divorcee can get temporary spousal or child support after divorce, setting up agreement on temporary child custody agreement, etc. People also want to know if they should freeze credit card accounts and bank accounts. Payment of mortgage is also an issue that’s commonly discussed during the consultation session. Make sure you prepare a list of all important questions.
4. Income Expense Declaration
This is yet another important document you need to prepare for the initial meeting with the divorce lawyer. The declaration will include income of party, expenses, and present salary stubs of the individual filling out the form.
5. Tax Returns
Make sure you bring the latest tax return filed by both parties (you and your spouse). This is especially important when you file a joint return. In case, you decide on filing separate returns, bring the most recent tax return for your spouse. It is usually recommended to carry along tax returns for the last two years.
6. Case Facts
Prepare a detailed list of relevant facts about the case. This will act as a reminder of the case for the meeting. The lawyer will use it as a statistical assessment of your family. Make sure the list comprises of things like the names of your children, marriage date, birthdays of children etc.
7. Info about the Spouse
Make sure you carry information related to the spouse for the meeting with divorce lawyer. The information should include facts on spouse’s personality, place of employment, pay etc. In case, of a history of criminal record, mental illness, etc. bring relevant information to the meeting.
8. Filed Documents
In case, you have already filed a divorce, carry a copy of relevant documents to the meeting. You should also have an additional copy for the lawyer.
10. Important Evidence and Documents
In most cases, dissolution of marriage is filed due to the failure of acting well on the part of one part towards the other. Attorneys usually have detailed discussions with their clients related to all kinds of evidence they may have against the other party. Hence, it is better to have copies of emails, pictures, printouts, text messages, posts on Facebook, Instagram pictures etc. It will be helpful to organize all of these documents into the usable format for review by the lawyer.
Divorce is a stressful process for both parties. Hence, it is natural to experience anxiety about the first meeting with the lawyer. A thorough homework and scheduling an appointment in advance will help. This is crucial to know about things to do and questions to ask.