You’ve made the decision to end your marriage, and now you have your first appointment with your new attorney. What items should you bring with you? Doing some thinking about what your divorce attorney might need can save time and money. Remember, most attorneys bill by the hour.
Divorce is a dissolution of marriage, and a division of property. You’ve hired your divorce attorney to represent your best interests in the proceedings. The following documents will help you and your attorney determine the best course of action possible to allow you to plan for your financial future.
Income statements for both you and your spouse. This includes, copies of your taxes, W2s and both yours and your partners pay stubs,
Monthly living expenses. It’s important that you think about how much your monthly bills are. This includes Mortgage, insurance, cars, utilities, groceries, and credit card payments.
Statements from the bank for all accounts (checking and savings, retirement)
Marital assets. It’s important to list every marital asset, and decide beforehand how you would like them divided. Don’t take anything for granted, and leave emotion out of the equation. Be careful not to make assumptions on property division. If you inherited money from a deceased family member, don’t assume that money’s yours. All assets in the marriage are up for grabs and your attorney must have full knowledge of assets involved.
Retirement assets, 401k, trust accounts, IRA’s, and pension plans and social security statements.
Think about your future. If you will need to go to school to qualify for a career that will allow you to provide for yourself in the future, know the costs and ask your attorney if you qualify for rehabilitative alimony.
If your spouse has been abusive, bring along any copies of police reports.
As you are gathering these documents and preparing for your appointment, questions that you want to ask your attorney will come to mind. Don’t trust your memory! As you think of questions, write them down and bring the list with you to your appointment. A well thought out questions list will help your attorney provide you with the information you need, and only better prepare you for the legal proceedings that lie ahead.