The initial consultation with a divorce attorney is a valuable opportunity to get practical answers to your most pressing questions. But it involves more than explaining your situation to them so they can determine whether they can represent you. It’s also an opportunity to decide if they’re the right fit. You should hire someone you feel comfortable with and know you can trust.
As such, you should prepare in advance to get the most out of your time with the lawyer. Here are a few items you should be sure to bring with you.
A List of Goals
Having a clear list of goals is essential when beginning the divorce process. This doesn’t just include the tangible, material assets you’d like to walk away with, but also the emotional and practical outcomes you desire.
For example, you might have specific goals about child custody arrangements, or you may wish to retain ownership of a family home or business. You may even have goals regarding the speed and amicability of the proceedings or your financial independence post-divorce.
Remember, divorce is not just about ending a marriage; it’s about setting the stage for your future. The more specific you can be about what you want that future to look like, the more effectively your attorney can advocate for your interests.
A List of Questions
Just as important as your list of goals is your list of questions. Divorce can be a complex process, and it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed or unsure about what lies ahead. That’s where your attorney comes in: to provide the guidance and clarity you need.
Prepare a list of all the questions you have about the process, no matter how trivial they may seem. These could be about the timeline, legal fees, what to expect in court, how assets might be divided, potential tax implications, or how child custody is determined. Your divorce lawyer is your guide during this transition, and there are no “silly” questions.
Basic Financial Information
Financial matters are often at the heart of divorce proceedings, and your prospective attorney should have a general idea of the numbers involved. Here is some of the basic financial information you should bring to your first meeting:
- Rough income information for both spouses
- A list of major assets, such as real estate deeds, vehicle titles, bank account statements, retirement account statements, and investment portfolios
- A list of major debts, like mortgages, student loans and any large credit card bills
- An estimate of monthly expenses
- Information about any businesses you own
Any Important Legal Documents
The legal foundation of your marriage and any agreements made during its course can significantly influence how your divorce proceedings unfold. This could include pre- or post-nuptial agreements, separation agreements, and court orders.
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, bring a commitment to honesty to your first meeting with your divorce attorney. The effectiveness of their representation largely depends on their understanding of the full picture, which in turn depends on the accuracy and completeness of the information you provide.
Honesty about your circumstances is crucial, including the good, the bad, and the difficult parts of your relationship and personal life. If there were instances of infidelity, substance abuse, domestic violence, or any other serious issues, it’s important to disclose these to your lawyer. While these topics may be difficult to discuss, they can have a significant impact on your case.
Remember, all discussions with your lawyer are confidential. Their job isn’t to judge you but to use the information you provide to craft the best legal strategy for your situation.
Contemplating a Divorce? Get in Touch with Invictus Law Today
Now that you know what to bring to your first meeting with a divorce lawyer, schedule yours with Invictus Law today. Our divorce attorneys in Virginia Beach are ready to meet with you, review your situation, and help you move forward with your life.