Published in Family Law on May 3, 2022.
Scheduling an initial consultation with a divorce attorney is the first step toward getting a divorce. However, once you schedule a divorce consultation, it is important you know how to prepare for an initial consultation with a divorce attorney. Below are a few things you can do to get the most out of your consultation.
Think Through the Most Critical Issues
When you or your spouse files for divorce, a judge cannot finalize the divorce until certain issues are resolved. It is important that you put some thought into each of the following, considering what is most important to you:
● The division of assets and debt,
● Child custody and parenting time,
● Child support, and
● Spousal maintenance.
By thinking through these issues in advance, you can be prepared for your attorney’s questions, leading to a more productive consultation.
Bring Important Documents with You
Before you head off to a divorce attorney consultation, it is a good idea to gather a few important documents. These documents will answer many of the questions that your attorney will ask you during the consultation. Below is a list of things you should bring if you have them available.
– A dissolution decree, if your consultation involves a post-decree issue;
– Any filings in the present matter, if a case has already been filed;
– If you were previously represented, your case file if you have it.
● Bank statements,
● Brokerage account statements,
● Savings bond information,
● Retirement account or pension information,
● Tax returns from the past three years (including all schedules),
● Recent paychecks,
● Your employment contract,
● Mortgage loan statements,
● Car loan statements,
● Life insurance policies,
● Health insurance policies,
● Car insurance policies,
● Statements for any other personal or secured loans, and
● A list of monthly bills and their average amounts.
Estate planning documents:
● Your last will and testament,
● A living will,
● Trust deeds,
● Power of attorney documents,
● Advance healthcare directives, and
● Guardianship paperwork.
● Real estate deeds,
● Real estate appraisals,
● A list of vehicles and their estimated values, and
● A list of any other potentially valuable assets, such as antiques, jewelry, collections, family heirlooms, etc.
Additionally, it is important you take along any evidence that could potentially be brought up in your case, such as:
● Text messages,
● Police reports, and
● Video recordings.
Of course, it is very likely that you will not have immediate access to all of these. That’s okay; what’s important is that you have thought through these issues and bring whatever documents you have on hand. Your attorney can assist you with gathering the harder-to-find documents after the consultation.
Questions to Ask During Your Divorce Consultation
When meeting with a lawyer, it’s a chance to get the lawyer’s input about your case and make sure that the lawyer is someone you want to work with. Thus, it is important to put together a list of questions for the divorce attorney. Some of the questions you may consider asking the divorce attorney include:
● How many years of experience do you have handling Indiana divorce cases?
● Do you handle any other cases in addition to family law matters?
● How can I reach you if I have a question about my case?
● What could happen that would make my divorce cost me more money?
● Will you be the attorney handling my case from beginning to end?
● What do you think makes you the best divorce consultant near me?
● What level of involvement do you expect from your clients?
Of course, you may also consider asking a lawyer more personal, non-divorce-related questions to get a sense of who they are outside their role as a lawyer. Of course, these off-topic questions don’t necessarily have a bearing on their ability to handle your case. However, divorces can take months to finalize, and it’s important that you have a good relationship with your attorney. And remember, it is always a good idea to schedule a divorce attorney consultation with several divorce lawyers before deciding which you want to hire.
Schedule a Confidential, No-Obligation Divorce Consultation with the Dedicated Family Law Advocates at Eskew Law, LLC
If you are considering filing for divorce or have questions about the divorce process in Indiana, contact Eskew Law, LLC. At Eskew Law, we take a practical approach to divorce. Our focus is on two things: achieving your goals and making the process as easy on you as possible.
We have more than a decade of experience helping clients navigate the divorce and know how to effectively advocate for your best interests at every step of the way. We provide the consultation for the reduced rate of $100 and usually last an hour, depending on the complexity.