The potential client may meet with a few attorneys as you prepare to file for the JOY of Divorce. During the initial consultation, the attorney will likely go through a checklist of issues to discuss. However, each divorce is unique, and the client often finds it useful to have their own list of divorce topics to discuss. Asking the same questions to different attorneys can also be quite valuable – the answers to the same questions can help determine the best match for handling your divorce.
It is also advisable to gather important legal and financial documents together (including tax returns, financial records, employment records, retirement plans, prenuptial agreement, etc.) before your meeting. This often enables them to give you more detailed answers based on the detailed information presented to them.
Important issues to discuss
There will be time to go over all the details, but important topics for starting the discussion include:
- Children: The client should discuss their expectations for custody, support, visitation, religious matters, and other concerns.
- Property: This covers equity in the family home, vacation homes and other real property, cars, home furnishing, boats, artwork, or other possessions of value. There likely will be a discussion regarding what qualifies as community property, which is split, and individual property, which is not.
- Business: This can include ownership in a company, other professional assets, professional degrees, benefits, and retirement accounts.
- Spousal support: There are few guarantees that spousal maintenance is forthcoming, but certain factors like length of the marriage or ability to earn income can strengthen an argument.
- Unique issues: There may be issues (abuse, addiction, or infidelity) that caused the end of the marriage.
It’s best to be straightforward
At first, some may not feel comfortable sharing details about their finances or marriage. Still, it is in the client’s best interests to gather and share all available information when they meet with an experienced, Board-Certified Family Law expert attorney.