Your first consultation with a divorce attorney may seem intimidating. However, this can be a productive session that is the start of making things better. The first consultation with your divorce lawyer can set you on the right path to protecting your best interests every step of the way through your divorce.
To ensure that your first meeting with your lawyer is a productive one, make a list of things you want to ask your lawyer in the meeting. Here are a few questions that you might want to keep in mind.
How Will the Divorce Affect My Children?
Children are first and foremost on the minds of divorcing parents. Discuss any initial questions you have about custody of your kids and other issues regarding the children. You may ask about child support, legal custody, physical custody, visitation rights, and health and dental insurance for the children.
Some of your greatest fears surrounding the divorce may involve the kids. The initial consultation may not be the place to discuss all of them. However, always discuss any major issues or thoughts you have in the initial consultation. If you don't want your ex to have visitation, share and discuss your reasons with your lawyer.
What Are My Options?
Not every divorcing couple needs to wind up in divorce court. Pursuing mediation or a collaborative divorce may be in your best interests. Avoiding a battle with your ex can have a positive impact on how well you both can work together to effectively co-parent. Talk to your divorce lawyer about whether these options might be good for your situation.
What Other Records Do You Need?
During your first meeting with a divorce lawyer, you should bring paperwork and documentation relevant to the divorce. These papers might include:
- Prenuptial agreement
- Bank statements
- Tax returns
- Pay stubs
- Credit card history
- Mortgage statements
These records help your lawyer determine how you will split your assets with your spouse during the divorce. The papers might also contain evidence that helps you during the divorce, such as financial records that show your spouse's poor spending habits.
Chances are you won't bring everything you need, and that's okay. Make a list of additional documents your lawyer asks for and bring them to your next appointment.
How Do Fees and Payment Work?
Discuss fees during your initial consultation with your divorce lawyer. You need to know that you will be able to pay the fees without stressing about it. Discuss such details such as how the lawyer charges for services.
Many attorneys charge by the hour, but some do offer fixed fee options. Feel free to ask questions to determine which would be best for you. Also, ask if additional costs exist. You may also want to discuss whether you can set a specific budget or a certain cap on fees before you incur additional charges.
Who Else Will Work on My Case?
The divorce lawyer is often not the only person who works on your case. Lawyers are typically extremely busy, and they have help with different areas of their work. Feel free to ask any questions you have about other people who may work on your case. Discuss who will likely work on your case and ask how much experience they have.
This is not a full list of everything you'd need to ask. Keep in mind that everyone's situation is unique, so depending on your circumstances, you may have additional questions and issues that you would like to bring up with your attorney. Be sure to explain all details you think may be relevant to your separation and divorce with your lawyer.
If you are going through a divorce, contact Attorney Jeffrey N. Novack to schedule your initial consultation today.