Are you preparing to meet with your divorce attorney for the first time? There are some basic things you will want to prepare beforehand to capitalize on the time you have with them. Understandably, you may be feeling stressed and emotionally exhausted going into your first meeting. Divorce is an incredibly difficult life transition to go through, but I want to help you prepare to make your first meeting as streamline as possible. You don’t necessarily need to go into your first meeting with anything, but coming prepared will only help you cover more ground and help your lawyer give you the best advice possible. Here are some tips for what to bring to your first meeting with your divorce attorney.
1. Biographical information on your immediate family
You should include any important or institutional information about your immediate family, starting from the day you were married to today. Information on date and place of your marriage, names and dates of birth of you, your spouse, and children, records of employment and education, etc. are all important.
2. An outline on the narrative of your marriage
In this you will want to describe yourself, your spouse, and your relationship. You should be outlining past and present marital problems and explain to your attorney what you think your main problems are going to be with your spouse during the divorce process.
3. Information on assets and debts for both spouses since the date of marriage/cohabitation
Include assets that are in each of your names individually and joint assets. Examples of what this information could be about:
4. Information showing income of you and your spouse
- Real estate
- Personal assets e.g. vehicles, jewelry, furniture, etc. (for a first meeting you won’t need an inventory of personal assets, a general description is fine)
- Bank accounts, stock or investment accounts, RRSP and tax free savings accounts
- Any inheritance received before or after the marriage
- Any substantial gifts you received as a couple from a third party
- Pension Plans or other private retirement plans
- Brokerage accounts and stock options
- Professional practices and licenses you or your spouse may own shares in
- Individual and joint debts (credit card, mortgage, bank loans, etc.)
This will be a full income tax return and notices of assessment.
5. A list of your children’s expenses
Any expenses like sports or activities, private school, or uninsured medical or dental expenses should be listed. These expenses are important for determining child support. Child support takes into consideration the income of you and your spouse, the costs of the children, and who pays for the children’s expenses.
6. Any burning questions you may have
Coming in with both general and specific questions about the divorce process can be extremely valuable for you. If you don’t know much about divorce you’re probably confused and scared about what is to come. Your divorce attorney can answer all of your questions and tell you what options you have.
Going through a divorce can be a long and emotionally taxing process, but coming prepared can help you accomplish more in your meetings, making the process quicker, and cheaper.