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Preparing for an Initial Consultation: What to Discuss with Your Divorce Lawyer

When you finally come to the conclusion that divorce is a necessary step in your life, your emotions are likely all over the place. For some people, it may be a sense of relief, whereas for other individuals, it can be devastating.

However you feel about your divorce, it’s important to carefully choose the lawyer who will be representing you during this time, and it’s also best to go into your initial meeting very prepared.

Divorce isn’t just about the emotional component—there’s a lot of technicalities involved in divorce, particularly if children or shared property are involved.

Your First Meeting

Your first meeting with your lawyer is going to depend on a few factors, particularly whether or not the divorce papers have already been filed.

Some spouses may have already discussed a number of the details, and decided to settle things outside of court, or the situation may be so difficult this doesn’t seem possible.

Regardless, during your first meeting with your lawyer, you’ll likely have a number of questions, and your lawyer will also be asking you a lot of questions. It can help the process go more efficiently if you’re prepared for these questions.

What to Bring

Basically, the goal of an initial consultation is for your lawyer you hear your history and personal story, and then for your lawyer to present some of your options.

You’ll need to bring some things along, particularly financial information. Prepare summaries of your income, and the income of your spouse if child support may be involved, as well as information regarding debts and assets.

What to Discuss

While you will certainly have other meetings with your divorce attorney throughout the process, you need to be prepared at your initial meeting to cover your bases. This will help you better understand your options and what the next steps will be.

Some people create a checklist of what needs to be covered, to ensure they’re able to remember everything important during a stressful and anxiety-filled meeting.

  • Child-related issues: This can be one of the most complex issues during a divorce. Be prepared to discuss child support, living arrangements, health insurance, how children are being raised, and the role of other family members in your children’s lives.
  • Property: Everything, even down to your home furnishings will need to be covered when you discuss property issues. Consider any assets that may be hidden, as well as debt, and each person’s role in the household and earning of income. This is also a good time to cover concerns about spousal support, and what you may or may not expect.
  • If there are any other issues, even sensitive issues (such as domestic violence), these will need to be covered.  You should also speak with your attorney about fees and costs of their services.

Be Open and Honest

Even though it can be hard to talk about the most personal aspects of your relationship and life, it’s vital that you’re candid with your divorce attorney.

Be prepared to answer tough questions, and tackle the initial consultation head-on. 

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