What to Bring to Your First Appointment with Your Divorce Attorney
There are a lot of things that will go on at your first visit to your divorce attorney, much of which involves a whole slew of questions and answers.
Your attorney will attempt to gain as much information as possible, from which she/he can get a “big picture” look at your individual situation before making a preliminary assessment and making recommendations. One of the areas you’ll be questioned about is your finances, and while it’s up to the attorney to find and gather all relevant information, it’s not a bad idea to bring whatever paperwork you can to that first visit.
Your lawyer is going to want to know about things like your net worth, your income, and your lifestyle. Pay stubs, tax returns, and bank statements can help him/her understand your financial situation. Not having them is not a problem for the first meeting but it can help with a more accurate preliminary assessment.
Other things like documents that support claims of education and training can be helpful, because these are things that effect your, or your spouse’s, ability to earn a living. Information regarding current employment and benefits as well as employment history may be relevant and again will help your lawyer get a more accurate idea of both your current situation and what it may look like post-divorce. And because anything you give or tell your lawyer is confidential, information regarding any health issues that could affect your long term earning potential might not be a bad idea to bring to the meeting as well.
Your lawyer will ask if there was any pre- or post-nuptial agreements signed, and if there were then it would be a good idea to take a copy of that to your first meeting. She/he will also ask about any instances of such things as “cheating” or domestic violence, so if these occurred and were documented, bring those papers too. The domestic violence aspect is especially important for your lawyer to know up front, should you need protection during the divorce process.
If this sounds like a lot to think about, don’t worry. As mentioned earlier, ultimately it’s up to the attorney to find all of this out, but the more information you can give him/her up front the more thorough a preliminary assessment possible. And with a more in-depth preliminary assessment, you’ll leave the office with a much better idea of what to expect.
Written by: Tricia Doane, Rust Built, Marketing Services