PREPARING FOR YOUR DIVORCE CONSULTATION
When deciding to consult a divorce attorney, many still have emotions running high. Your consultation with an attorney will be limited in time (generally 30 minutes- 1 hour). With that in mind, you will need to try to narrow the issues to discuss at this meeting to get the most information about the divorce process, the possible solutions, and the spectrum of strategies available toward a resolution.
- If you have been served or otherwise delivered papers from your ex, bring all papers with you
- Timeline of events in your relationship
- Prior or current orders involving children of this marriage or previous relationships
- Pre or Post Marital Agreements
- Income documentation for you (and your spouse, if possible): tax returns, pay stubs, etc.
- Assets overview (balances for bank accounts, retirement accounts, pensions, investments, etc.)
- Information regarding land and homes you own (mortgage amounts, values, etc.)
- Information on valuable items in your home (collectibles, etc.)
- Notes about problems in your marriage (regarding both spouses)
Remember, your consultation with your attorney is generally confidential in nature. (See the forthcoming article on confidentiality and attorney-client privilege in family law). You need to be open with your attorney about issues that may come up in your divorce. Your attorney can only advise you based on information you provide to him or her, so be honest during your consultation.
You should also bring a list of questions, to ensure you do not forget anything. Again, this is a stressful and emotional time, so you may also want to take notes on what the attorney is telling you.
Be sure the attorney answers your questions; describes the divorce process in a way you can understand; discusses the pros and cons of your case, as well as possible outcomes (temporary and final); discusses retainer fees and billing practices.
You do not need to have all of your evidence available at the initial consultation. You can discuss those items and produce them as needed at a later time (emails, text messages, photographs, etc.).
If this is an emergency situation, due to family violence or a spouse secreting the children, please bring necessary evidence showing the abuse or abduction issues, as your attorney will need to work quickly to protect you and your children. Please let someone know that this is an issue when scheduling your consultation, so the attorney is prepared to address those issues and begin work immediately, if needed.
Some cases are time sensitive or require special attention. Please seek the advise of a local family law attorney to determine your best strategy. The compassion, knowledge, and experience of the Hanshaw Kennedy family law attorneys will help you navigate this process.