What to Know About Your First meeting with Your Divorce Attorney
The decision to get a divorce is extremely difficult. When two people decide that their marriage is no longer working, it can signal the beginning of a long and stressful process of separating two lives that have lived as one. If there are children involved in the marriage, this process can be even more difficult and emotionally draining as the family navigates a life that will be very different from what they are used to. When the decision is made to get a divorce, each spouse should meet with a family attorney to assist them through the process. Here are a few things to keep in mind about your first meeting with your divorce attorney.
Before the Meeting
Before you meet with an attorney, it’s important to do your research. Take some time to find an attorney that is competent in family law, and who has a track record of success for his or her client. Read reviews or ask for a recommendation from a trusted friend or family member. It’s essential that you pick a credible and experienced attorney to assist you through the most challenging time in your life.
You should also make sure that you are prepared before your meeting. Write out questions you want to ask, and have all documentation ready to show your attorney. Your first meeting will contain many questions on both sides as your attorney gets to know you and your marital situation, so it’s crucial that you come prepared to give him or her as much information as you can about your marriage. You must be prepared and focused for this important meeting.
During the Meeting
Your attorney should make you feel comfortable and at ease. If he or she does not, then maybe it is not a good match. It’s important that you trust the person advising you through the divorce proceedings because you don’t want to make the process any longer or main painful than it already will be.
Make sure you take notes during the meeting and ask for a recap or next steps. Your lawyer will charge by the hour, so you want to make sure that you are using your time wisely. Having as much information ready to go and asking for specific instructions on how to proceed will save you time and money moving forward.
The circumstances of your marriage will determine how the meeting will go. If you and your spouse have agreed to an amicable divorce, the meeting may be very different than if the divorce will be contentious. It’s important that you tell your attorney everything that you and your spouse have discussed and agreed upon prior to the meeting. Your attorney should also ask a lot of questions about the state of your marriage and your finances. Don’t be alarmed. This is normal and important when decided alimony and child support or any other separation of assets.
During the meeting, you should be prepared to discuss alimony, child support, and any division of property, assets, or debts. These issues will all be determined over the course of the divorce proceedings, so it’s important that you have an understanding of what should be expected.
Documents to Bring to Your First Meeting with Your Divorce Attorney
Make sure that you bring all financial documents to your first meeting with your divorce attorney. Any documentation that describes the current status of assets owned by you and your spouse should be brought with you. Your financial situation and the status of your marital finances will all be used to determine alimony and child support and other asset and liability distribution following the dissolution of the marriage.
These documents include:
- Tax Returns- at least three years worth
- Pension Plans/401(k)s/IRAs
- Bank & Investment Statements
- Pay Stubs from the last three paychecks
- Real Estate documentation such as deeds or mortgages
- Any other documents that you think would be essential and necessary related to your marital finances
At the end of the meeting, you should feel confident in your attorney’s ability to support your best interests through the divorce proceedings. If this is not the case, it may be a good idea to find a different attorney before you are too far along.
If you are in the process of considering a divorce, it’s important that you contact an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible.
Lowenstein, M. S. (2012, February 08). What To Bring to Your First Appointment. Retrieved from https://www.wife.org/lowenstein-002.htm#wrap
Guillen, L. (2013, April 03). Your First Meeting With A Divorce Attorney. Retrieved from https://www.divorcenet.com/states/massachusetts/your_first_appointment_with_your_divorce_lawyer