Have you decided on divorce, but aren’t sure how to prepare? With the complexities of family law, it’s easy to get confused along the way. Therefore, it’s important to make the most of your initial divorce consultation.
To lend a helping hand, we’ve laid out a handy divorce planning checklist to help you prepare for your first meeting with a divorce attorney. By asking the right questions and bringing the relevant documents, you can make it that much easier for your attorney to get the ball rolling.
What to Bring to Your Consultation
Once you’re face to face with a divorce lawyer, it’s time to ask any legal questions you have about the divorce process. Maybe you’d like to know your full range of options for separation, or would like an attorney’s professional estimate of your case’s timeline. If you have children, be sure to ask any questions you have pertaining to child support, custody agreements, and parenting plans.
Asking these questions and understanding what lies ahead is important to: 1. Keep your mind at ease, and 2. Help your divorce lawyer understand your situation. There’s no such thing as “too many questions” in a divorce consultation, and no inquiry is too simple or complex. In essence, try to make the most of your consultation by bringing a list of questions to the initial meeting.
Past Pay Stubs
During consultations, it’s common for family law attorneys to ask about you and your spouse’s incomes. This information is used to determine certain items, such as child support payments, so remember to bring your last few pay stubs before heading off to your initial divorce consultation.
In some cases, bringing your pay stubs can produce more accurate estimates of how much money will be awarded. There’s no need to bring a year’s worth of stubs, though – try digging up pay stubs from the last three months to help your attorney make more accurate estimates of crucial divorce items.
2-3 Years of Tax Returns
If you can’t seem to find those pay stubs, two to three years of tax returns will do. Tax returns can actually provide more insight for your divorce attorney, since they paint a clearer picture of your broader financial state. You can conveniently ask for a copy of your tax returns directly on the IRS website. In the spirit of preparation, be sure to request copies of your tax returns weeks ahead of your initial consultation to ensure it all goes smoothly.
Prenups & Other Marriage Documents
Additionally, if you and your spouse have a prenuptial agreement, bringing it to your initial consultation will greatly help in preparing your divorce agreement. You’ll also want to bring birth certificates for any children you have, and consider bringing along their regular school schedule. These items will help your divorce lawyer settle custody conflicts, establish more accurate timelines, and answer questions related to your children if the case goes to trial.
Follow this simple divorce planning checklist and bring the necessary documents to your initial consultation, and your attorney is sure to thank you. Pay stubs, tax returns, marriage documents, and relevant information about your children help your lawyer paint a clear picture – allowing for more accurate timelines and potential outcomes. Plus, all of your legal questions can finally be answered – just be sure to bring a list with you.
Consult Your Divorce Planning Checklist with Jennifer Owens
Divorce is an emotional journey to endure. On top of the bitterness and anger which often result from a formal separation, the subsequent legal battles tend to make the whole process even more painful. At the Law Offices of Jennifer Owens, we revel in the power of choice. When spouses face divorce, they’re presented with a slew of decisions with a handful of potential outcomes. Our attorneys are believers in the best possible outcome, where a former couple chooses peace over destruction, so that they can finally move onto their next chapter. We can help with that. No matter your desired path – divorce mediation, a negotiated settlement, or even litigation – The Law Offices of Jennifer Owens will achieve the best possible outcome by reaching a settlement that keeps all involved parties in mind. Visit our website to review our family law services or contact us online for a free consultation.