What Should You Bring to Your First Appointment with a Divorce Attorney?
This post will provide you with a list of items you should bring to your first appointment with your divorce attorney
What financial information should you provide?In order to obtain advice specific to your financial situation, especially if your case involves child support or spousal support (alimony) you should provide your attorney with as much current and historical financial information as you can during your initial consultation. Tax returns provide a wealth of information to a family law attorney. Be prepared to provide pay stubs, tax returns, W-2s/1099s, bank statements, credit card statements, and retirement account statements. Obtaining these documents will also assist you when completing your financial disclosure documents during the divorce or legal separation case.
What do you need to start working on a parenting plan?How do you want to share your children? What are your main concerns about your spouse's parenting? How do you currently share the children's time? These are questions a family law attorney will ask during an initial consultation, so be prepared to be able to respond. Provide your attorney with any calendar or schedule you have maintained, in writing or via an electronic calendar. If there are communication issues, bring copies of emails or other written communications you have had with your spouse that cause you concern. If you and your spouse are in agreement as to how to share custody of your children, write out the terms of the agreement so that you can give it to the attorney; this may save time, money, and stress down the road.
Do you have a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement?If you and your spouse signed a prenuptial agreement before you got married, or a post-nuptial agreement after you were married, bring a copy to your lawyer at your first meeting. A threshold issue in a case can be whether such agreement is valid. If it is, it will likely guide the division of property; it may also have provisions regarding support, mediation, etc. Your attorney needs to review a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement at the beginning of your case in order to know how to proceed.
What if your spouse has already filed for divorce?You may have already been served with divorce papers if your spouse has already filed in your county. Bring a copy of all documents you have received from your spouse, his or her attorney, and the court, if any, when you meet your attorney. These documents may contain hearing notices, deadlines to respond to the divorce Petition, etc. Your attorney needs these documents to be certain of your upcoming obligations and requirements.