Once you have selected a divorce attorney to meet with, you will want to begin preparing for the meeting to ensure the meeting will be as productive as possible. It is good to spend time preparing for that session so both you and the lawyer can get more out of it and so that you can get the reassurances you need.
When you first meet with a divorce attorney, be prepared to tell your story and discuss your questions and concerns about the divorce and your situation specifically. The attorney will ask you questions as necessary and may go over a general overview of the main issues in your case. The attorney should also provide you with a clear understanding of the attorney's fees and billing practices.
Be sure to ask any attorney you plan to meet with if there is anything specific they prefer you bring to the meeting. Many attorneys will have their own list of documents they want to review or information they want you to prepare for the initial consultation. Usually, nothing is required (just suggested) except information that a law firm must gather to determine whether there is a conflict of interest before your meeting takes place.
Here are some things to think about and prepare before the first meeting:
- A list of the issues most important to you
- A list of questions for the attorney - whether about spousal support, parenting time, property division, the process, costs or anything else that comes to mind
- All of the papers you have been sent or served with if our spouse has already started a divorce
- Financial documents such as pay stubs, tax returns, debt statements, retirement statements or just a simple list of assets and debts and income information
- An estimated monthly budget of your living expenses
- Any tentative agreements you and your spouse have reached in contemplation of the divorce
- Pictures of your children - the attorney should make your children a priority and should want to understand more about who your children are and what is important for them
Remember, meeting with an attorney for the first time shouldn't be an intimidating experience. It will most likely be overwhelming, stressful and frightening on an emotional level. The attorney should put your mind at ease and answer your questions. You may want to interview several attorneys before choosing the right attorney for you. Pick an attorney that has the experience to guide you through this process in a thorough and thoughtful manner. Also pick an attorney with whom you feel comfortable, as divorce is a very personal process.