Before you first speak to a divorce lawyer, you may wonder what to bring to your initial consultation. For some people, getting a divorce is the first time you have needed a lawyer for anything. You may be unfamiliar with the kinds of questions that a divorce lawyer might ask. You also might not know what to expect during the divorce process. Here are a few tips on what to bring to the first meeting.
Fill Out the Questionnaire or Intake Form
New Direction Family Law asks our prospective clients to fill out a confidential client questionnaire and submit it before the initial consultation. Lawyers often need their prospective clients to complete an intake form or questionnaire which asks some basic questions about you and your situation. These forms will help the lawyers understand where you are coming from. They can use the information to target their advice to address your unique circumstances.
Bring Your Important Documents With You
Your lawyer needs you to bring any important documents relevant to the divorce with you to the consultation. You might not be sure which documents are important if you are unfamiliar with the divorce process. Locate and bring with you:
- Court orders about the divorce
- Court orders about child custody
- Paperwork you received from the court
- Agreements between you and your spouse
- Any documents your spouse or their attorney gave you
- Anything you signed relating to the divorce or child custody
These documents can help your lawyer assess the “procedural” status of the case. This means the status of any decisions a judge has made, the steps you have taken in the divorce so far, and what your spouse and their attorney have done. Then your lawyer will know what needs to be accomplished next in the divorce process.
Bring Information About You and Your Spouse’s Finances
Your lawyer may have questions about you and your spouse’s finances during the initial consultation. Talking about your financial situation will allow your lawyer to get a clearer picture of your individual circumstances that could affect your divorce.
Finances affect divorce proceedings because divorce involves the division of your assets. Part of getting a divorce finalized is an asset and debt distribution. The judge decides what would be a “fair” division of property between the two divorcing spouses, or you and your spouse can make a separate agreement or court order about property division and ask the court to approve it. Your finances also can affect issues like spousal support, alimony, and child support. Because dividing up finances can be one of the biggest sticking points in a divorce, your lawyer will want to know about:
- You and your spouse’s expenses
- You and your spouse’s debts or liabilities, including those acquired before marriage
- You and your spouse’s assets, including those acquired before marriage
- You and your spouse’s retirement accounts, or any other future income
- Expenses you pay on behalf of your child or children
- Any other financial considerations (such as who owns the house, whether you have other obligations like caring for a child from a previous relationship or an aging parent, etc.)
Come to your initial consultation prepared to discuss at least the basics of your financial situation. You can go into more detail later if needed. Your lawyer may ask you to track your expenses or provide additional information, as well.
When you first schedule a consultation with a divorce lawyer, you may feel anxious or unprepared. If you review the tips above, you will be ready to get the most out of your consultation. Your lawyer can advise you about legal representation and the divorce process as you move forward.
Do You Need to Meet with a Divorce Lawyer for the First Time?
If you are considering ending your marriage, the team at New Direction Family Law is available today for a consultation. Our knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate professionals will help you get started with the divorce process. We will explain your legal rights and possible steps you can take during your divorce. We proudly serve clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law at our website or call us at (919) 646-6561 to schedule a consultation.