What To Bring to Your First Meeting with a Divorce Attorney? A Checklist

If you are considering a divorce, or your spouse has filed for one, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the legal process.

Consulting with a divorce attorney
Consulting with a divorce attorney [PHOTO COURTESY OF BLOG WORTHY]
One of the first steps you need to take is to consult with a divorce attorney who can advise you on your rights and options.

However, before you meet with your lawyer, you should prepare some documents and information that will help your attorney assess your situation and provide you with the best possible guidance.

Here are some of the most important things to bring to your first meeting with a divorce attorney:

 

Intake Form

Most divorce attorneys have an intake form that asks you to provide basic information about yourself, your spouse, your marriage, your children, and your goals for the divorce.

This form helps the attorney get a quick overview of your case and identify the main issues that need to be addressed.

You may be able to fill out this form online before your meeting, or you may receive it when you arrive at the attorney’s office.

Either way, try to answer the questions as accurately and completely as possible.

 

Agreements

If you and your spouse have signed any agreements related to your marriage or divorce, such as a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement, or a separation agreement, you should bring a copy of these documents to your meeting.

These agreements may affect how your property, debts, alimony, and child custody are divided in the divorce.

Your attorney will need to review them and advise you on their validity and enforceability.

 

Tax Returns

Your tax returns can provide a lot of information about your income, expenses, assets, and debts.

These documents can help your attorney determine your financial situation and calculate child support and alimony payments.

You should bring copies of your federal and state tax returns for the last two or three years, along with any attachments such as W-2s, 1099s, K-1s, etc.

Pay Stubs

Another source of information about your income is your pay stubs.

You should bring copies of your last three pay stubs, as well as your spouse’s if you have access to them.

Pay stubs can show how much you and your spouse earn, how many hours you work, whether you receive any bonuses or commissions, and how much is deducted for taxes, health insurance, retirement plans, etc.

These details can affect how much child support and alimony you may pay or receive.

 

Property Documents

One of the major issues in a divorce is how to divide the marital property and debts.

To do this, you need to know what property and debts you have, how much they are worth, and whether they are marital or separate.

You should bring any documents that show ownership and value of your property and debts, such as:

1.Mortgage statements and deeds for any real estate
2.Titles and loan statements for any vehicles
3.Bank statements for any checking, savings, or investment accounts
4.Retirement account statements for any 401(k)s, IRAs, pensions, etc.
5.Credit card statements for any outstanding balances

Other documents for any other assets or liabilities, such as jewelry, artwork, furniture, student loans, medical bills, etc.

 

Text Message History

If your divorce involves issues such as domestic violence, adultery, substance abuse, or parental alienation, you may need to provide evidence to support your claims.

One way to do this is by showing the text messages or emails that you exchanged with your spouse or other parties.

These messages can reveal the nature and tone of your communication, as well as any threats, insults, admissions, or requests that were made.

If possible, download the text message history in a way that includes the dates and times of the messages.

How To Prepare For Divorce

Preparing for divorce can be a difficult and stressful process, but there are some steps you can take to make it easier and protect your interests.

Stressed Man
Cant afford a Divorce attorney [Photo courtesy of Snappy Living]
Here are some of the things you should do to prepare for divorce, based on the web search results:

*Learn your state’s requirements for filing for divorce.

Different states have different rules about residency, separation, grounds, and waiting periods. You should find out what these rules are and how they apply to your situation..

*Gather personal information and documents.

You will need to provide information and documents about yourself, your spouse, your marriage, your children, and your finances.

*Open a checking account and savings account in your name alone.

You will need to have access to your own money during and after the divorce. You should also open credit cards in your name if you don’t have credit of your own.

This will help you establish your financial independence and build your credit history.

*Set a budget for what life will look like after divorce.

Divorce can have a significant impact on your income and expenses.

You should plan ahead for how you will manage your finances after the divorce is final.

Consider how much income you will have, how much alimony or child support you will pay or receive, how much rent or mortgage you will pay, and how much you will spend on utilities, groceries, transportation, health insurance, and other living expenses.

You can use [this calculator] to help you estimate your post-divorce budget.

*Find a place to live.

Depending on your situation, you may need to move out of the marital home or find a new place to live after the divorce.

Look for a place that is affordable, safe, and comfortable for you and your children (if you have any).

You should also consider the location, size, amenities, and availability of the place.

*Take care of yourself.

Divorce can be emotionally and physically draining.

You should make sure that you take care of your health and well-being during this time.

Eat well, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, avoid alcohol and drugs, and seek professional help if you need it.

Conclusion

Meeting with a divorce attorney can be a stressful experience, but it can also be a productive one if you come prepared.

By bringing the documents and information listed above, you can help your attorney understand your case better and give you more accurate and effective advice.

Remember that your attorney is there to help you navigate the legal process and protect your interests.

The more information you provide them with, the better they can serve you.

 

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