What Should I Take to the First Meeting with My Divorce Attorney?

Ending a marriage isn’t easy for anyone. For many, going to see a divorce attorney for the first time is overwhelming and, quite frankly, terrifying. You are making a major commitment to change your whole life. A good, experienced divorce attorney can make all the difference. It can make the process easier and save you time, money, and further hassle. Think of your first meeting with a divorce attorney as the first step in resolving the problem and moving on to a new chapter in your life.

There are typically three general mind frames people are in when they go see a divorce attorney for the first time. The first involves people who are thinking about divorce and want to get information. The second involves spouses who agree to file a divorce and are working on a resolution together. The third involves a spouse who has been served with divorce papers and needs answers on how to move forward. Though there may be three general mind frames, each and every situation is unique, and the necessary depth of information will vary depending on which situation you are in.

Communication and Openness Are Key

When you meet with your attorney, try to be as open and honest as possible. Your attorney is there to help you, and speaking openly will help you get the best result possible. It is a safe space where your communications are confidential. Your attorney needs to know about you and why you are getting a divorce. This helps flesh out the complete picture of your marriage. Your life together as a couple, as it has been, matters when sorting out how to divide up assets and how a divorce judgment could come out.

List of Items to Bring

Here is a list of items you should locate before your first interview:

  • Your complete tax returns for the last three years. If you did not file jointly, bring your spouse’s as well;
  • Retirement plan information (Summary Plan Descriptions or SPDs);
  • Statements of individual retirement accounts (IRAs);
  • Detailed information for any real estate owned by your or your spouse, including deeds, tax bills, mortgage records also identifying tax and insurance amounts;
  • Information on life insurance policies and declaration pages;
  • Medical insurance information for you, your spouse, and children, if any;
  • All bank accounts, numbers, and balances, that each of you holds;
  • Documentation for stocks, bonds, and brokerage accounts;
  • Information and exact names of all businesses in which you or your spouse have an ownership interest;
  • All trust agreements and trust accounts in which you or your spouse is a trustee or beneficiary;
  • Records of all safety deposit boxes owned by you or your spouse;
  • All written appraisals of any property owned by you, your spouse, or both;
  • Records of all credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, department store or gas cards, etc.), including the exact name(s) on each account, the account number, account balance, and charges and cash advances for the last year;
  • Records of all loans, whether from a bank or relatives, the dates the loans were made, amount borrowed, balance due, monthly payment, and the purpose.

Don't put off seeing an attorney just because you cannot find all these items yet. You can supplement information as you find records and documents.

If you are thinking about divorce or are starting the process for divorce, contact Wolfe Legal Services today for a free consultation at (614) 263-5297, or fill out the online form. Our compassionate Columbus divorce lawyers are here for you every step of the way to get you moved on to a brighter, happier future.

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