01 Dec Tips for Navigating the First Meeting With Your Divorce Lawyer
Are you about to take your first meeting with your divorce attorney?
You likely have a lot of questions and no idea what to expect. However, you can make your first meeting productive – even if you have never met with a lawyer before.
Here’s what you should do before and during the meeting to start the relationship on the right foot.
1. Before the Meeting: Describe Your Dream Divorce
You didn’t get married to get divorced, but it happens to roughly half of the married couples across the country.
Even though divorce itself is not necessarily the ideal scenario, it’s essential to think about what situation represents the best outcome.
What do you want from the divorce? Do you want the house? What do you want to give your ex-spouse? Do you require spousal support, and what kind of terms do you want?
Write down your ‘wish list’ and bring it to your first meeting.
2. Before the Meeting: Put Together Your Financial Information
If possible, prepare a folder of your financial records. These should include W-2s, pay stubs, tax returns, and copies of accounts with all your assets and debts.
You should include anything in your name only and all joint accounts because the name on the account doesn’t guarantee the owner after the divorce. (New Jersey uses equitable distribution to divide assets.)
Some of the other documents you might need include:
- Gifts or inheritances
- Prenuptial agreements
- Self-employment records
- Retirement benefits
- Life insurance policies
If you cannot access your financial data, don’t worry. Your divorce lawyer has a chance to request it during discovery.
3. Before the Meeting: Prepare the Facts of Your Case and Complete the Intake Sheet
Your attorney needs to know more about your family, including how many children you have and how old they are.
They also need to know about your soon-to-be-ex. Your attorney will want to know:
- How old are they?
- What are they like?
- Where do they work?
- Is there a history of mental illness?
- Is there a history of abuse?
- Have they been divorced in the past?
The data helps the attorney assess your case and create an initial strategy to move forward.
4. At the First Meeting: Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask whatever questions pop into your head during the meeting.
If anything, consider writing down your questions in advance (as well as during the meeting). There are hundreds of questions relevant to the divorce process, but some of the most common ones include questions about:
- Attorney fee structures
- State divorce procedures
- Custody issues
- New Jersey’s equitable division laws
These are questions your attorney will have answers to in the first meeting. Other answers may take more time to develop as the attorney learns more about your case and works with your ex-spouse’s counsel.
Are You Ready to Start the Divorce Process? Contact Tournour Law Today!
The first meeting with your divorce attorney may feel daunting as it approaches. However, by sharing the relevant information and your expectations, the session will be more enlightening and productive than scary.
If you’re filing for divorce, you need a knowledgeable attorney on your side.
Frank Tournour is a certified matrimonial law attorney representing hundreds of people in New Jersey. Don’t just take our word for it, take a look at Tournour’s family law case results.
Contact Tournour Law today to discuss the best options for your case. Visit our location in East Brunswick or call (732) 418-9772 for help with your divorce filing today.