10 things to bring to your initial consultation with a divorce lawyer

Posted on 02/05/17 Orange County,Uncategorized

Most attorneys that practice divorce law offer a free initial consultation where you can schedule a time to meet in person with the lawyer.  The guide provides you with advice on how to prepare for an efficient and effective consultation.  While most divorce attorneys in Irvine and elsewhere in Orange County don’t specifically provide direct legal advice during this first meeting, having the right information will not only provide for an effective first meeting, it will show the attorney that you will be a well-prepared client.  Let’s get to the list.

1. Prepare your Schedule of Assets and Debts

The Schedule of Assets and Debts is one of the most important documents in any California divorce case.  Every party in every divorce case in California has to complete this form before their dissolution of marriage will be granted by the court.  You may as well start now and get this document completed, which will be extremely helpful for the attorney during your initial consultation.  Here are answers to frequently asked questions about the Declaration of Disclosure, which consists of the Schedule of Assets & Debts.  As the name announces, the Sched. of Assets and Debts lists out all the community and separate property assets, debts, and includes supporting documentation.

2. Prepare your Income and Expense Declaration

The Income and Expense Declaration is the other document included in the Declaration of Disclosure.  The IED includes the party’s income, expenses, and must include recent pay stubs of the person filling out the form.

3. Prepare a list of questions you want to ask the divorce lawyer

On our Massachusetts divorce blog, we prepared a list of 15 questions to ask a divorce lawyer.  Having a bullet-point list of questions ready to ask is imperative to managing your time with the attorney and getting the information you need.

4. Tax Returns

Bring at least the most recent tax return filed by you and your spouse, if you file a joint return.  If you file separate returns, try and bring your spouse’s latest tax return as well.  If you can bring the last two years’ tax returns that would be greatly beneficial.

5. Self-employment documents

If you or your spouse are self-employed, bring as many documents as you can regarding the business operations, income and expenses.  Bring a current profit and loss statement, balance sheet and any other relevant current documents.  Be sure to bring the last year’s Schedule A tax return document.  For more information about self-employment in divorce, click here.

6. List out the relevant facts about your case

As a reminder for yourself during your meeting, bring a bullet-point list of important facts about you, your family and children.  This list will sort of act like a statistical analysis about your family.  The list should include the date of marriage, children’s names and birthdays, and other like information.

7. Ask the attorney for his or her client intake sheet in advance of the meeting

Many attorneys require clients to complete an intake sheet or survey prior to the initial consultation.  You can call the attorney’s office in advance to make sure that you have time to completely fill out the form.  If you have an initial consultation with our divorce law office in Irvine, feel free to call us in advance at (949) 955-9155 and we will email the form to you.

8. Information about the other party

Bring information about your spouse to your initial consultation, including their place of employment, pay stubs, and relevant facts about their personality.  If there is a history of mental illness, bring the relevant information to your meeting.

9. Documents already filed in the divorce case

If a divorce case has been filed already, bring a copy of all the filed documents to your meeting.  Have an extra copy to provide to the lawyer so you can both look at a copy during your meeting.

10. Documents and evidence that might be important

Often times dissolution of marriage cases are filed because one or both spouses were not acting properly toward the other party or the children of the marriage.  We often have discussions with potential clients who discuss all the “dirt” or “incriminating” evidence they have on the other party.  It is useful that you print out and bring copies of relevant text messages, emails, photographs, Facebook posts, Instagram pictures or other electronically stored information.  Try to organize these documents into an easily useable format for the divorce attorney’s review.

If you are looking for a divorce lawyer in Orange County, please feel free to contact us today for a free, private consultation.