Your first meeting with a divorce attorney, after you initial consultation, can be intimidating. It feels like your whole life is on the line, but where do you even start? Finances? Custody? Property? What paperwork do you even need? No need to worry. You should be prepared for your first appointment if you bring the following information.
1. Basic Financials
Bring a list of basic financial information such as balances of savings and checking accounts – joint or individual – as well as retirement, investment, pensions, etc.).
Make sure you are knowledgeable about your own income, including how much you pay each month for your health and dental insurance and the children’s insurance. If you know about your spouse’s income, your meeting with be even more productive. Bring your own paycheck stubs or the equivalent and anything you can legally obtain about your spouse's.
You'll also need to know what your monthly bills are. It's good to bring copies of those bills if possible. If you have a bill (like your electricity) that varies from month to month, bring the last year's totals. Think about every monthly bill you pay: rent/mortgage, cellphones, home phone, electricity/gas, cable, water/trash and more. Don't forget about optional bills, like subscriptions to Netflix or your home security system.
2. Tax Information
Bring your last two years' tax returns with you. If there's been a fundamental change to either your or your spouse's incomes since the last return, explain this to your attorney. This may change next year's tax returns.
3. Real Estate & Personal Property Documentation
In addition to the house you live in or the apartment you rent, if you have any other properties, make sure you list information on those if you can, even if it's technically only owned by one or the other spouse. Certain property is exempt from being divided between you as a result of divorce (like an inheritance, for example), but not all. Even if the property is in only one name, especially if you both footed the bill for the upkeep or mortgage, your attorney should know about it.
Additionally, if there's property of any kind (real estate or otherwise) that you believe you own outright and your spouse has no claim to, be prepared to talk about it.
4. Food Expenditure
It's important to know how much you really spend on food each month. Chances are, it's more than you think. Make sure you don't guess. Bring your grocery receipts or tally up what you spend at grocery stores from your online banking.
Your lawyer will need to know how much you spend on your kids each month. Some of this may be taken care of in other areas, but if not, don't forget things like private school tuition, clothing and personal maintenance (e.g., haircuts), lessons, medical and dental costs (including insurance), sports and/ or extracurricular activities equipment, etc.
Be ready to talk about how you and your spouse share parenting responsibilities (who drops off or picks up the kids from school, who takes them to appointments and extracurricular activities, who stays with them each evening or on weekends, etc.).
6. Other Pertinent Paperwork
If you have any prenuptial agreements or if you were served with documents, your lawyer needs to see those. This may include divorce papers or other documents related to your divorce proceedings. But you should also bring any other items, financial or legal, that pertain to your spouse that may impact you or your kids at a later date.
Don't Have a Divorce Lawyer Yet?
If you're getting divorced in the Kissimmee, Florida, area and want a free, no-obligation consultation, contact a qualified divorce lawyer at Draper Law Offices at 866.767.4711.