Most divorce attorneys offer a free initial consultation where you can schedule a time to meet with an attorney in person. The guide will give you advice on how to prepare for an effective and efficient divorce consultation. While most divorce attorneys do not specifically provide direct legal advice during this first meeting, the right information will not only ensure an efficient first meeting, but also show the attorney that you will be a well-prepared client. Let’s get to the list.
10 THINGS TO BRING TO YOUR FIRST CONSULTATION WITH A DIVORCE LAWYER
PREPARE YOUR ASSET AND DEBTS SCHEDULE
The asset and debt schedule is one of the most important documents in any California divorce case. Each party in any California divorce case must complete this form before the court will grant a divorce. You can also start now and have this document filled out, which will be very helpful for the attorney during the initial consultation. Here are answers to frequently asked questions about the disclosure statement, which consists of a summary of assets and liabilities. As the name suggests, Sched. of Assets and Debts lists all joint and separate property assets, debts and contains supporting documentation.
PREPARE YOUR INCOME AND EXPENDITURE STATEMENT
The Income and Expenditure Statement is another document included in the Disclosure Statement. The IED includes the party’s income and expenses and must include recent pay stubs of the person completing the form.
PREPARE A LIST OF QUESTIONS YOU WANT TO ASK THE DIVORCE LAWYER
Having a bulleted list of questions ready to ask is essential to managing your time with your attorney and getting the information you need.
If you file a joint return, bring at least the most recent tax return filed by you and your spouse. you are filing a separate return, try to bring your spouse’s most recent tax return as well. If you can bring your tax returns for the last two years that would be very helpful.
DOCUMENTS OF SELF-EMPLOYED BUSINESS
our spouse are self-employed, bring as many documents as possible regarding your business, income and expenses. Bring a current profit and loss statement, balance sheet and other relevant current documents. Don’t forget to bring proof of last year’s tax return. For more information on self-employment during divorce, click here.
LIST RELEVANT FACTS ABOUT YOUR CASE
As a reminder to yourself of the appointment, bring a bulleted list of important facts about you, your family, and the children. This list will act as a statistical analysis of your family. The list should include the wedding date, children’s names and birthdays, and other similar information.
ASK THE ATTORNEY FOR YOUR CLIENT SHEET BEFORE THE MEETING
Many attorneys require clients to complete an intake sheet or survey prior to an initial consultation. You may want to call the law firm ahead of time to make sure you have time to fill out the form completely.
OTHER PARTY INFORMATION
At the initial divorce lawyer consultation, bring information about your husband, including his place of employment, pay stubs, and relevant facts about his personality. If you have a history of mental illness, bring relevant information to your appointment.
DOCUMENTS ALREADY FILED IN CASE OF DIVORCE
If a divorce has already been filed, bring a copy of all filed documents to the meeting. Prepare an extra copy to give to the lawyer to review during the meeting.
DOCUMENTS AND EVIDENCE THAT MAY BE IMPORTANT
Often, divorce cases are filed because one or both spouses have not acted properly toward the other party or the children of the marriage. We often have discussions with potential clients discussing all the “dirt” or “incriminating” evidence they have on the other side.