When clients meet with their attorneys the first time, they generally want to obtain answers to the following questions:
- What can I expect when I get a divorce?
- What do we need to do to prepare to file?
- How much child support will I receive?
- How much support will I be able to receive for myself?
- How will the property be divided?
- What about the conduct of my spouse?
- Who will get custody of the children
First, think about what your expectations are for the divorce and then you can find out whether your expectations are realistic. Be prepared to answer very personal questions about you, your marriage, and your children. Don’t be embarrassed, chances are, your attorney has encountered your issues before.
Also understand that issues of custody bring up emotions that can actually help your attorney determine what may be best for your situation. Financial issues are more easily answered if you do a little homework first. If you can bring the following documents with you, it can help your questions be answered more specifically. You don’t have to bring them, but it can certainly help your attorney get to know you and your situation.
- A copy of any prenuptial agreement.
- Documentation of your income and your spouse’s income
- Documentation of your expenses and any extraordinary bills or expenses
- Copies of the last three to five years’ tax returns
- A list of all assets, including real estate, bank accounts, investments, life insurance, retirement plans and what debts there are.
- A narrative about your marriage including any conduct, abuse, information about the custody and who took care of the children.
- A list of any questions that you might have.
It is not always possible for the attorney to give you definite answers, but you should at least walk away with an understanding of the issues. You should also have a feeling about whether this is the right attorney to help and protect you. Meeting your attorney for the first time is the first step in a long process, but it may be the right first step to have your family and your assets protected.