5 Important Things to Bring to a Divorce Consultation

Nearly 50% of all marriages end in divorce.

Perhaps one of the ways you can view this shocking statistic is that if you’re going through a divorce yourself, you are not alone in your experience!

Still, knowing that you are not a trailblazer does not make the process any more comfortable for most, especially when there is no “rulebook” or “guide” to walk you through the process (there are lawyers though..)

When we start talking about bringing lawyers into your divorce discussions, we want to make sure you have a baseline understanding of what to ask (us or others).

We’ve put together a quick list of essential things to bring with you to any consultation.

Read on.

1. Bring A List of Prepared Questions 

Going through a divorce is an emotional process, but don’t let yourself mistake a divorce consultation for a therapy session. Remember, this is a time to ask legal questions and get answers you cannot find from other people.

Before you head to your divorce consultation, write down at least five questions on a piece of paper or your phone. These might vary based on your situation, but they can include asking about the lawyer’s experience, how much they charge, and what you can expect.

Do not make the mistake of “remembering them in your head.” Odds are you will get caught up in the consultation and forget at least one of your questions.

2. Bring Real Estate Information to Your Divorce Consultation

Make sure you bring along any information about the property you and your partner own. You’ll want to grab things like your escrow papers, mortgage statements, and deeds.

Do this for every property you have owned together. That includes properties you owned in the past, even if you are not currently living there.

3. Bring Relevant Legal Documents to Your Divorce Consultation

Throughout the length of your marriage, you might have gathered a large amount of legal paperwork. You should bring as many of these relevant documents as you can remember.

The most important documents include the following:

  • Separation agreements
  • Social security cards, passports, and other identifying information for you and your children
  • Your children’s birth certificates
  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Any other documents from legal proceedings regarding your partner or children

Reviewing these legal documents will allow your lawyer to better understand your situation during the divorce. They will also help your lawyer construct an estimated timeline of the divorce proceedings.

4. Bring Pay Stubs and Tax Returns to Your Divorce Consultation

Your lawyer will want to know how much money you and your spouse make for the household. To give them a good idea of how your income breaks out, bring the three most recent paystubs from both you and your partner if possible.

You should also bring your most recent tax returns as well. These returns will give your lawyer a better idea of the annual income. 

If you have to choose one of these due to discretion or lack of being able to locate them, pick the tax returns.

5. Bring Incriminating Evidence (If You Have It) to Your Divorce Consultation

You might not have any incriminating evidence, but if you do, make sure you bring it along. This evidence might include photos, videos, notes/messages, or social media posts relating to the divorce. This evidence might be proof of things like cheating or abuse.

Getting a Divorce Consultation

Make sure you go into your divorce consultation with an open mind. You might want to get certain things out of the divorce, but you might not get them all. Instead, make sure you listen to your lawyer’s expert advice.

Are you in the middle of a painful divorce?

Make sure you check out some of our legal services and see how we can help you.

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How Do You Choose a Divorce Lawyer?

How Do You Choose a Divorce Lawyer?

Getting divorced will likely be very emotional and stressful.  Even if you are only considering it, the stress of finding a good divorce lawyer to help and advise you can be daunting.

Obviously, trust and discretion are important factors, but so are results. 

How do you choose a divorce lawyer when there are so many choices?

Search Engines

Being that this is the internet, after all, the best place to start looking for a divorce lawyer is your favorite search engine.  Here are some tips for using search engines to compare

You can use Google, Yahoo, Bing, or any other search engine you prefer.  When you type in “divorce lawyer near me,” you will get a map with your search results showing the divorce lawyers near the city or zip code you use along with a list of search results.

When you click on the name of one of the divorce lawyers, it will take you to a page that lists their contact information, reviews, pictures, directions, and most of the time a link to their website. If there is a link to their website, you can go there and do a little more research.

Make a list of a few lawyers that stand out to you.  Visit their website, read their blog, get a feel for how they market themselves.

Once you have a list of lawyers, call and set up a consultation or use the request form on their website if they have one.  Most divorce lawyers have some sort of a free consultation or information they can provide to you.

Talk to a Divorce Lawyer Today

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Seek Recommendations

If you have a friend, family member, or coworker who has gone through a divorce, you can ask them about whom they used.  Speaking with someone you trust can help you decide based on their thoughts on the divorce lawyer.

Again, call and set up a consultation.  Having a consultation will give you a feel for the divorce lawyer and if they can help usher you through the challenges ahead!

Use AVVO, NOLO, or FindLaw

Some websites specialize in helping you find the right lawyer for your needs.

AVVO – AVVO has a spot for you to choose the area of law and city and state.  You can also search by just state or city and state.   Once you click on Find Lawyers, you will get a list of divorce lawyers in the city and state you chose.  The listing will give you the name of the divorce lawyer, the phone number, reviews, and give you a link to their website.

NOLO – NOLO is very similar to AVVO.  You choose the area of practice, then which state you want.  You can then browse through all the lawyers in your state, or you can narrow it down to a specific city.  Your search results will list the lawyers’ name and contact information.  You can also click a link to be taken to their profile or to contact them.

FindLaw – FindLaw again allows you choose your legal issue and location. The results list will give you the law firm name, contact information, and a link to their website.

* These websites get paid by attorneys to provide leads.  This means that it is not an exhaustive list of great attorneys, but for some, it is a good place to get information and referrals!

How to Choose the Right Divorce Lawyer

After you have done your research and found a divorce lawyer you think you want to work with, call them and set up a consultation.

Here are questions to ask the divorce lawyer at your consultation.

  • Experience: How much experience do they have working on divorces?  In your state? 
  • Rates: Ask how much they charge to represent clients.
  • Resources: Do they have access to financial experts, parenting coordinators, and other professionals? If they need to use any for your case, will it affect the cost?
  • Assistant: Typically, the divorce lawyer will not be handling all day-to-day issues relating to your case. Ask to meet whoever assists them.

Also, listen to your instincts.  If you do not feel like the divorce lawyer you are meeting with does not fit your needs, then do not use them.

A good divorce lawyer will take the time to listen to you, not use lawyer speak that you cannot understand, and make you feel at ease.