It is a known fact that divorce rates are increasing, so much so that divorce has almost become commonplace. In fact, first marriages only last an average of eight years, with nearly 60% of second marriages also ending in divorce. The rate for divorce for those who marry for a third time is higher still, at 73%.
While each couples’ grounds for divorce may vary, the most common causes for divorce include communication issues, adultery, financial problems, spousal abuse, or loss of interest. Though no one anticipates that their marriage will end in divorce, it is important to realize this is a possibility, especially as divorce rates continue to increase.
When first consulting with a potential divorce lawyer or family law attorney, never arrive empty-handed as divorce attorneys use this time to carefully evaluate the nature of your case, as well as address any questions or concerns you may have. The documentation you bring allows your potential attorney to have a more complete understanding of your situation.
Here are four important things to bring to a consultation.
Coming to an initial consultation prepared with a list of questions helps to ensure you won’t miss or forget vital information. Ask your potential attorney questions about the process itself, the approximate timeline and how to conduct yourself during the pendency of your case.
Proof of income
Your potential family law attorney will need to review your pay stubs, tax returns and/or other proof of income in order to better determine your current financial situation. Try to bring in at least three months’ worth of documentation relative to your income, as well as your spouse’s income. These documents are especially helpful for both child support lawyers and child custody lawyers, and may assist your potential attorney in providing you with a rough estimate as to what alimony or child support may be if applicable to your case.
Any legal documentation related to marriage such as prenuptial agreements, documentation from previous legal proceedings involving your spouse and/or children, separation agreements and insurance information are all important. This information will also aid the attorney in properly drafting the documentation which must be filed with the Complaint and/or Motions relative to your case.
If you have any documentation which proves infidelity and/or domestic abuse on the part of your spouse, be sure to bring this information as well, i.e. social media posts, photos, videos, text messages, police reports. While the majority of modern divorces are no fault, meaning adultery may not affect your case’s outcome, it is still important to present this information to the attorney.
Perhaps the most important thing to bring along with the four aforementioned items is an open mind. While you may have an idea of what you believe is fair, or how you would like the case to be settled, it is important to remain receptive to your prospective attorney’s advice and counsel. If you are properly prepared and able to keep an open mind, the process itself may be expedited, thus, allowing you to move forward with your life sooner.