Beyond the emotional toll that comes with a separation or a dispute over child custody, there is the practical aspect of reaching a legal and enforceable resolution that will help you move forward with your life. In reaching this resolution, many people find it critical to retain the services of an attorney for advice, for information, and for advocacy.
It really does you no harm to at least consult with an attorney. In fact, failing to utilize an attorney regarding property division, alimony, or child custody can be detrimental to your financial future or even your parent-child relationship. This is due to the risks of missed deadlines, waiving legal rights, and getting taken advantage of by your spouse’s attorney.
What to Bring to Your Initial Consultation
On that note, if you make the wise decision to consult with an attorney, there are a few steps you can take to make that first consultation really count:
- Bring any agreements or orders that are available. If you have any sort of prenuptial agreement with your spouse, any existing agreements or court orders, or have been served with legal pleadings by your spouse, make sure to bring any and all documents to your attorney. Bring everything. Even if you don’t think it is important, your attorney can reach that decision. Your attorney will use these documents to obtain all available clerk’s records regarding those cases.
- Create a timeline. Create word document or spreadsheet that contains significant dates: such as your date of marriage, when your children were born, when you acquired significant property, the dates of any alleged infidelity or marital misconduct, and your date of separation. A timeline is a great way to refresh your recollection of the history of the significant events in your relationship and marriage. It also provides important baseline information that will familiarize your attorney with your situation.
- Identify and gather documentation. Courts have broad discretion when it comes to the evidence that is relevant to the issues of property division, alimony, and child custody. This means that it will be essential to gather all documentation regarding you and your spouse’s incomes, retirement, bank account holdings, investments, business interests, real estate, personal property, inheritance, and debts. In addition, if there are allegations of criminal conduct, substance abuse, domestic violence, child abuse or neglect, abandonment, or marital misconduct, than any documentation, records, or recordings that support or disprove these allegations can be incredibly important regarding the issues of alimony or child custody.
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
New Direction Family Law offer legal representation to people who want to resolve issues relating to separation agreements, divorces, property division, alimony, and child custody. Our attorneys are experienced, respected, and hard working. We understand that the work we do affects our clients’ lives and helps them move forward. Let us help you. Contact New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment, or visit us at our website.
Sarah J. Hink
New Direction Family Law