What To Take To A Divorce Attorney

When your spouse says he or she wants a divorce, contacting an attorney should be high on your “to do” list. If trying to “fix” your marriage isn’t an option, a visit to a divorce attorney is a first step toward protecting your interests. No matter how much you believe your spouse will do the “right thing,” at divorce the “right thing” may be to look out for themselves at any cost.

What should you take on your first meeting with an attorney? Since attorneys bill by the hour, doing some homework before you go can save time and money. The following is a short list of what to bring:

> W2s
> Pay stubs (for both of you)
> Bank statements (checking and savings)
> Credit card statements (to show payments due as well as balances owed)
> Mortgage or rent information on all properties the two of you own
> Utility bills
> Insurance payments – Medical, Homeowners, Automobile
> Household “maintenance” bills such as pest control, pool maintenance, lawn mowing
> Average weekly or monthly expense for groceries
> 401K and other trust details
> Social Security records and other pension plan details (for both of you)
> If your spouse has been abusive and there are police reports, bring copies
> Bring your list of child support and custody requirements
> Itemize the children’s expenses for school, clothing, medical, entertainment
> Itemize your expenses for clothing, medical, entertainment
> If you need to go to school to quality for a decent career, ask if you qualify for rehabilitative alimony
> Have you been married long enough to qualify for spousal alimony (if not, why not?)
> Bring a list of the marital assets as you’d like them divided
> Copies of Income Tax records, current and as many back years as are available

This list should get you started thinking about what you’ll have to assemble before going to the attorney. The more income and assets involved, the more paperwork you’ll need. You don’t want to end up losing the income you need to maintain your current standard of living by not being properly prepared and legally represented.

And remember, if your first visit with an attorney leaves you feeling that he or she isn’t on your side, look for another attorney. As stressful as a divorce is, you don’t need the added stress of dealing with an attorney who isn’t doing their best for you.