Making Your First Consultation Productive and Meaningful
Divorce or custody cases can be complicated and stressful, but this can be reduced by being organized. Before anything is ever filed, it’s important that you meet with an attorney who can get familiar with the facts of your case and carve a path forward. It’s important that you have a trusting relationship and feel comfortable confiding in the attorney who you ultimately retain.
By walking through the facts of your case with an experienced attorney, you can leave a consultation with a sense of direction. In order to make the best use of your consultation and answer as many questions as possible, here are some items that, if at all possible, you should bring with you for your consultation.
A List of Questions
You will want to get some good information about the process, so don’t be afraid to have a list of questions you’d like to ask. I’ve found that clients often forget some of their questions if the questions are not written down.
You will always need to present income information to the Courts before finalizing a divorce, so if at all possible, try to bring at least three (3) months’ worth of paystubs from you and your spouse to the divorce consultation. These can go a long way in compiling an initial estimate on alimony and child support.
Perhaps even more useful than pay stubs, tax returns can give a more comprehensive look at you and your spouse’s financial situations. Try to bring up to five (5) years’ worth of returns.
Legal documents relating to your spouse or children will help your attorney get a better understanding of your story. If you have any of the following, consider bringing them to your appointment:
- Documents from any current or prior legal proceedings involving your spouse and/or children;
- Copies of any separation agreements;
- Copies of pre-nuptial agreements; and
- When applicable, copies of police reports that might be related to your current case.
Anything You Think May be Important Evidence
If there are incriminating videos, photos, social media postings, or notes that relate to the divorce (e.g., cheating, abuse, etc.), you will want to bring that evidence to the consultation as well. In deciding what to bring, don’t assume you know what is and isn’t relevant to your case. If you think it might be helpful, go ahead and bring it.