Are you heading towards a divorce? If you’re tired of being shadowed with a bad marriage and want a new life where you were allowed to be happy and free of criticism and a lack of appreciation, you should be. An attorney can help you get through your divorce, and there are five things you need to do to prepare you for your first meeting with your attorney.
What You Need to Do to Prepare to Meet with Your Attorney
#1 – Know where you want to end up after the divorce
Think about what kind of relief you are searching for? Do you need financial support like alimony? Do you want to keep the house or sell it? Which car do you want to have? Which custody schedule makes the most sense for you, your children and your spouse. Being able to communicate these things to your attorney helps and it’s the only way to get your attorney to understand and plan for how to achieve your goals.
Your goal setting post-divorce wish list should be your guiding light. Spend time deciding what is important to you, identifying your must haves, and what can you do without.
#2 – Accurately Summarize the Marriage
Provide your attorney with a fair and accurate summary of the relationship with your spouse. So much about where you are going depends on where you have been. The history of your relationship is important at every step of the divorce process and what you have contributed to the marriage and the family is important. What you have done and what you have contributed will validate what you are demanding in your post-divorce life.
Share Your Story
You need to describe your lifestyle has been throughout the marriage as well as the earning and income history of both you and your spouse. These are important because the factual history is what the entire divorce process is predicated on.
Determining what goals are reasonable and what your expectation should be will happen by sharing your history with your attorney.
#3 – Know the Household Incomes, Assets and Liabilities
Be able to articulate both you and your spouse’s employment and incomes, if any, as well as what marital and premarital assets and liabilities that now exist, or any from the past are important because it allows you and your attorney to set expectations about how the marital property will be divided. Remind yourself about where the money came from to buy your first house, what assets you have when you entered the marriage and where those assets are now. The current value of your bank and investment accounts. Now, how much money you and your spouse have in retirement accounts and what retirement assets you came into the marriage with.
This information will help determine which of your goals are reasonable and achievable and what your life is realistically going to look like post-divorce.
#4 – Be Honest
Your lawyer’s job is to defend you. Your spouse probably knows every one of your vulnerabilities and every mistake you made throughout your entire relationship.
You can be sure that they will bring it up if you end up in trial. By being aware of your mistakes and vulnerabilities you and your attorney can plan how to defend against them. Things like adultery and domestic violence are commonplace in the divorce arena. While these things may be embarrassing for you to talk about, letting your attorney know everything is the only way to plan and prepare for goal setting, mediation and, if necessary, a divorce trial. Whatever you tell your attorney is protected by attorney client privilege.
The attorney client privilege takes effect immediately. It’s even in place in consultations before you formally retain your attorney.
#5 – Bring Questions
Collect your questions and write them down. Anytime a question pops into your head, write it down. Ask whatever questions you may have about what is going on. Ask about how you should communicate with your spouse or about what to say to your children. Ask about what to do or not to do with certain assets or liabilities, social media, and so forth.
If you have documents, such as such as text messages or email exchanges between you and your spouse, a journal or calendar you maintain, those are good examples of documents to bring to your first meeting, and you can ask about them. If your spouse has already filed for divorce against you, you probably have a complaint and other documents from your spouse. Bring those documents to the meeting and you and your attorney can discuss how to respond. The lawyers at Pare & Associates are ready to walk this journey with you and provide the support you need.
This is your first opportunity to have some questions answered by a professional in this area. So take advantage.