A divorce is a life changing event. Sometimes a divorce is amicable and sometimes it is contested. Either way, it is wise to instruct a divorce lawyer with whom you are comfortable and who you trust to look out for your interests in the divorce settlement.
Your first meeting with a divorce lawyer will be a consultation. It is usually through this consultation meeting that a person decides whether or not to hire a a divorce lawyer. In order to make the best use of the consultation and to see if you like the divorce lawyer’s advice and style, it is useful to bring all of the relevant information concerning your divorce with you.
If you are making an appointment, ask how long it will be. This first consultation is very important for you and also your divorce lawyer.
You do not need to worry about the divorce lawyer sharing confidential information. There is a duty of confidentiality.
Since the information that you bring to the divorce consultation is confidential, you should consider bringing the following types of documentation with you:
Any Legal Paperwork Related to the Separation or Divorce: If you have been served with any papers from your spouse or if there is already a formal separation agreement then it is important that you bring it for your divorce lawyer’s review together with any legal correspondence.
Financial Information: The legalities of divorce have much to do with separating the marital assets. In order for your divorce lawyer to do so fairly and with your best interests in mind it is important for your divorce lawyer to know exactly what you and your spouse take in as income, have as assets, spend on expenses and have as liabilities.
• Income: This includes all of the money that is made from working and investments. If there is a family business then that information is also relevant.
• Assets: Assets include property, personal property and, investments including pensions. It is helpful for you to provide your divorce lawyer with a list of the assets owned by you, by your spouse and by the two of you jointly or as far as you know.
• Expenses: This includes all of the money that you regularly spend including things such as your bills, food costs and money spent on the education and care of minor children.
• Liabilities: Liabilities include any loans or mortgages that you have outstanding including student loans, mortgages, car loans and private loans.
Prenuptial Agreements or other Contracts: If you and your spouse have ever entered into a prenuptial agreement or another contract that would be relevant to your divorce or distribution of property then it is important for your divorce lawyer to review the agreement as soon as possible.
Documentation concerning the children, if any: If you and your spouse have children together then it is important to make your divorce lawyer aware of your wishes regarding the care and custody of the children.
Questions: The divorce consolation is for you and it is important that you have an opportunity to ask questions. It might help you if you write some points or questions down and go through them in the meeting to make sure everything is covered. Never be afraid to ask questions and to request information about legal costs and how long everything will take. These are common questions I am asked and they are very important.
Divorce can be a difficult time for many people. The right divorce lawyer can help you focus on the future and secure a fair distribution of property and beneficial arrangements for your children. Therefore, it is important to provide a divorce lawyer with all of the relevant information at your first consultation. You are not expected to have all the information to hand right at the start but the more background information you can provide the more you can get out of the first divorce consultation.
Maguire Family Law is a specialist firm of Family Law and Divorce Law solicitors based in Wilmslow, Cheshire. We offer legal advice to parties going through a divorce including the financial issues which flow from this and children matters including child maintenance.
We can also advise on Schedule1 Children Act 1989 applications.