Meeting with a Divorce Attorney
- posted: Feb. 05, 2021
If you are considering ending your marriage or have already decided that you want to file for a divorce, the first step you should take is consulting with a Rhode Island divorce attorney. The divorce process can be a complex – and emotional – one, so having a skilled attorney advocating for your best interest and protecting your rights is key.
At Kirshenbaum Law Associates, when a potential client contacts us about filing for divorce, we will set up an informational conference where the potential client and attorney meet. This meeting is a good way to determine how comfortable you feel with the attorney and how well he or she is able to answer any questions you may have.
The attorney will want to know basic information, such as your age, employment status, and health of both you and your spouse, as well as information about your children. He or she will also ask some background questions about why you are considering or have decided to end your marriage. Also discussed is the general financial position and what outcome you want to come out at the conclusion of the divorce.
There is no need to bring any documents to this meeting. The attorney may make suggestions as to timing and protection from physical or financial abuse. It can be easier to write down all the information you feel is pertinent to your case before your appointment to ensure you don’t accidentally omit anything during your meeting. It is also helpful to bring a list of questions you may have to the meeting.
Once you have decided to retain the attorney, we will schedule an initial consultation. At this meeting, your attorney will want more relevant personal and financial information.
The attorney will ask questions about the family home and any other real estate you and/or your spouse own, financial accounts, debts, pensions, business interests, and other financial information. The more information you can provide, the quicker your attorney can begin working on your case.
List of Assets and Debts
Having a complete picture of a couple’s financial situation is crucial when it comes to negotiating the divorce settlement. Rhode Island family courts require that each spouse files a Statement of Assets Liabilities Income Expenses. This document lists all of the assets and debts, whether marital or separate, each spouse has. Before your initial consultation, gather all of your documents and statements that will support what these assets and debts are, including:
- Any prenuptial or postnuptial agreement you and your spouse signed.
- Bank, investment, and retirement account statements.
- Deed to home and any other real estate property you and/or your spouse own. Also, bring your last real estate tax bill.
- Mortgage statements for all properties.
- Last few paystubs for you and your spouse. Paystubs contain a wealth of information for your attorney, such as pay rate, bonuses, and hours worked.
- Last two years’ tax returns, including all attachments.
- If either you or your spouse is self-employed and/or own your own business, bring a current profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and any other documents available regarding business operations.
- Title to all vehicles owned.
- Statements for any debt owed, including credit cards, vehicle loans, personal loans, and monthly utility bills.
Other Relevant Information
If the divorce is not a “friendly” one and you anticipate problems over child custody, division of assets, or any other issues, the more evidence you can provide your attorney, the stronger your case will be. Some of this evidence can include:
- Printouts of text messages, email, photographs, and social media posts that demonstrate the communication that has taken place between you and your spouse. This can be especially helpful if there are certain events that have taken place that are relevant to an issue, i.e., a spouse’s abusive behavior.
- Any calendar of events or journals where you have been documenting events.
- Any documents or communications that your spouse could use against you. It is critical that you share everything with your attorney. It is harder for your attorney to defend you against evidence they were completely unaware of and could have a serious impact on the outcome of your case. Don’t ever be afraid or uncomfortable to be honest with your attorney.
It can also be helpful to bring a list of questions that you have for the attorney to this appointment, too. This way, you can go through each one on the list, instead of trying to remember all of them during your meeting.
Call Our Family Law Firm for Help
If you are considering or have made the decision to divorce, call Kirshenbaum Law Associates at 401-467-5300 to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our skilled Rhode Island divorce attorneys. We also offer phone and Zoom consultations and appointments.