Your first visit to a divorce attorney is an important one. Being prepared with the proper information and documentation will help ensure that your meeting is productive. Having all of your questions written down ahead of time is a great idea too, so that you can leave your meeting with a feeling of confidence. The more efficient you can be, the more efficient your attorney will be in preparing a strategy for diligently and effectively represent your interests.
During that first discussion, be truthful and forthcoming so that your attorney will get to know you and your situation. You in turn, will get to know your attorney, learn more about how the legal process works, and be advised about some of your basic rights and responsibilities. At that time you will also begin to discuss options about how to move forward.
Paperwork is Vital
The amount of documentation and paperwork you ultimately need will depend on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested. As you can imagine, there will be much more paperwork required for a contested divorce than for an uncontested case, so it’s best to be very thorough and diligent with obtaining all the proper information expeditiously.
For your first meeting, be prepared with the date of marriage, birthdates and social security numbers for you and your spouse, information about previous marriages including divorce decrees, prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, and judgments and pleadings that involved either you or your spouse. Also bring income tax returns and pay stubs. Other essential and relevant documents required would be information related to assets and debts of the marital estate.
If dependent children are involved, bring your children’s birthdates, social security numbers, and bank account information. Caring for your children will require emotional, physical, and financial cooperation. You and your spouse will need to make decisions about visitation, custody, child care expenses, educational expenses, and future expenses such as college. Very early in the divorce you should be formulating your own stance on how you want all of these issues handled as they relate to the children.
It is important to know that the documents you supply should cover your long-term history, not just the most recent transactions. While it generally depends on the length of marriage, three years of data should be sufficient. With regard to assets- make a list of personal property including jewelry, artwork, collections, and antiques, and also specify which financial and material assets you personally brought into the marriage as individual property. It is also a good idea to pull your credit report and make certain you know about all debt that is registered in your name. Having documents already in order saves a lot of time and will answer critical questions that help your attorney start to advise you of your rights and responsibilities.
Move Forward Confidently
The attorneys of Staack, Simms & Reighard, PLLC look forward to meeting with you. We will work to help you access and organize the appropriate documentation and financial information early on. We can tip you off if there is evidence that your spouse is trying to hide or undervalue certain assets, and make sure that key items are not overlooked. While divorce is a very emotional time, it is important to stay focused and know that accurate financial accountability and documentation is critical. Our attorneys are specifically trained to navigate a successful settlement and secure your future financial stability.