When ending a marriage, most people wind up hiring a divorce attorney. A great deal goes into choosing the best lawyer to represent you. Though the Do-It-Yourself approach is easier and more accessible than ever, it’s often in your best interest to have representation. This leads to other questions, like how do you prepare for an initial consultation with a divorce lawyer?
Preparing for an Initial Consultation With a Divorce Lawyer
These meetings often feel intimidating and overwhelming. Divorce tends to make emotions run high, and people don’t always think clearly. But it’s an important step to finding the best divorce lawyer for your case.
In order to make the most of your initial consultation, here are a few tips to help you prepare for that first meeting.
1. Collect Personal Information
This may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how often it slips people’s minds.
There’s a lot going on, and a lot to worry about. As a result, sometimes the small things fall through the cracks. But during your initial consultation, a divorce lawyer needs all of the basic information regarding your case.
This means all the basic information for you and your spouse. Among other information this includes:
- Phone numbers.
- Places of employment.
- Social Security numbers.
You should also collect:
- Recent tax documents for the last few years.
- Bank statements.
- Credit card accounts.
- Any other pertinent financial documents.
Additionally, a potential divorce lawyer needs information about your living situation and any children.
Basically, if it’s important to your case, or you think it could be, bring it along. It’s better to have it and not need it than the other way around.
Related Reading: Divorce Discovery Tools
2. Make a List of Questions
Divorce has an air of mystery around it. As such, you probably have a laundry list of questions. Good. This is where you start to get answers.
Write them down and make sure you bring them up during the initial consultation with your divorce lawyer.
These can be either big-picture questions or specific issues that pertain to your case.
The cost of divorce and how long the process takes are examples of common questions. It’s important to have an idea of the financial investment as well as a general time frame.
But be warned, both of those depend a great deal on the specifics of your situation and vary from case to case. The more complex and contentious, the more expensive and time-consuming.
Your initial consultation is also the time to address any other concerns.
You can discuss child custody, the division of property and debts, and more. If you worry about retaining assets acquired before the marriage or keeping your stake in a shared business, bring up these topics.
Talking to a divorce attorney during the initial consultation often helps take the mystery out of the process. This alleviates stress and gives you a clearer picture of what to expect in the days to come.
All in all, you should come out of this with at least an idea of what lies ahead.
Related Reading: What’s My Ex Entitled To in Divorce?
3. Know What You Want Out Of Divorce
Your divorce lawyer can’t help you if he or she doesn’t know what you want out of your divorce. It’s important to give this serious thought ahead of time.
Maybe you just want it to be over and done with. That’s fine. But since divorce often has a huge impact on your life moving forward, really spend some time figuring this out.
If you have a significant amount of shared property, think about how you’d like to divide it. Do you want to keep the marital home, a specific car, or a cherished piece of furniture?
When you have kids, consider what you want the parenting plan to look like. Do you want full child custody or regular visitation, or is once in a while good enough?
Knowing what you want helps attorneys plan the best strategy for your divorce.
The initial consultation gives you the chance to get your questions answered. It provides an opportunity to make sure that a divorce lawyer is a good fit for you and your case.
An initial consultation does not mean you’ve hired a particular attorney or that you’re under any obligation to retain his or her services. Think of it as an audition. It’s important to find the right person to fit the role. If this isn’t the person, move on.
Related Reading: Types Of Divorce In California
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I like that you suggest making a list of questions you have before your divorce consultation. My brother and his wife are working on getting a divorce and want it to be as peaceful as possible. I will send them this information so they can make sure they have a good divorce attorney for the process.
My friend is getting a divorce from her husband, as he has been cheating on her. She also wants to get custody of her son, so she’s been wondering how she should prepare for meeting with her attorney. I like how you mentioned that she should make a list of questions she has, as she may forget once the consultation begins. Thanks you so much for sharing these tips of how to prepare for meeting with your family lawyer for the first time.
My brother is just filing for divorce and needs to start looking for an attorney. I really like your suggestion of compiling a list of questions to take for that initial consult. He has so many questions right now and I think that asking a lawyer would be the best person to ask.
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My cousin and her husband decided to separate and they have a house and son. It was explained here that when hiring a divorce lawyer it’s important to make a list of questions. Furthermore, it’s recommended to hire a professional divorce lawyer.
Great Information!!! Thanks for sharing this informative blog.
It’s good to know how to meet with a divorce lawyer. My good friend is getting a divorce, so I’ll show him this. He definitely needs to sit down and figure out what he wants from the split!
Thanks for pointing out that you should know what you want out of your divorce before your initial consultation. It’d probably be a good idea to get a local attorney because then they’d have already networked with the courts and judges and others. You’d just need to find the right divorce attorney for you.
I can imagine that getting a divorce would be a very rough time for any family. Your point about being able to decide on whether full custody or partial is right for the family is crucial. I can imagine it would be hard for kids and knowing their needs is important as well. My uncle is going through a divorce and I’ll let him check this out as he’s considering getting an attorney.
I do like how you mentioned that it would be wise to have an objective already set before hiring a divorce lawyer as it would help make things flow better. That is something I will be sure to remember in case that I would ever need it in the future. Being able to know what is to be done without delaying anything is better than not being prepared. Thanks!
My sister is currently going through a divorce and I’ve been wanting to help her in every way that I can. I liked that you had mentioned that it can be important to have a list of questions you’ll need to take to the lawyer to make sure they’re a good fit for you. We’ll have to start looking around for a family and divorce lawyer, and we’ll be making sure we get a full list of questions to avoid any problems.
I really like your tip about making a list of questions, and writing them down and making sure that you bring them up in the consultation with your divorce lawyer. Divorce is very confusing, and I know my friend is very confused on what she should do. I think making a list of questions would really help her out.
Thanks for the advice to gather recent tax documentation from the past few years, as well as bank statements when preparing for a divorce. My brother is thinking about getting a divorce, but he doesn’t really know where to start. Hiring a divorce attorney and starting to collect personal information will be steps I’ll remind him to do so that he can get all the legal help he needs.
I think that what you had to say here about collecting personal information was really important. As you explained, during your initial consultation, your lawyer will need all of the basic information regarding your case and your spouse. A friend of mine has been looking for a lawyer, and I think that he should be ready with all of this information as he meets with potential lawyers. Thanks!
It makes sense to hire a divorce lawyer. You’re right, the whole process seems mysterious, and so my sister, who’s going through one soon, will appreciate this. I know she’ll want some professional guidance through the whole process.
Your tip to write down questions you have for an attorney prior to your consultation is a great idea. I’m pretty forgetful, so writing down questions on paper would be especially helpful if you’re like me. That way you can make sure you have all your bases covered before moving forward with the divorce process.
I liked your approach to be fully prepared for the initial consultation with a divorce lawyer and write down the list of question I have. I a going to get divorced and as my husband and I cannot reach the agreement on our property, I believe I need some professional help. I will make sure to write down everything that I will have any doubts and questions about, and ask a specialist.
I like that you talk about how important it is to know your end goal with the divorce and what sort of specific compilations need to be overcome. It makes sense that each divorce needs to be handled differently and a lawyer could really help with that. These tips will be very helpful to get an idea of what sort of divorces a lawyer is experienced with as well as whether it’d be comfortable to work with them on sensitive matters.
I like that you mentioned to ask a lot of questions at your initial consultation, like questions about custody. My best friend is getting a divorce, and keeping custody of his kids is the most important thing to him. As we meet with lawyers, I will make sure he asks about this.