You initial divorce consultation will provide you with several things:
- A feel for your divorce attorney’s personality. You must feel comfortable with that person. You’ll be working closely together for the next several months and he/she will help you shape your future.
- What to expect during the process. Your attorney will explain the procedure and talk about your options.
- Homework. If you haven’t prepared yourself for your first consultation, you’ll be expected to bring a few things to the next meeting.
To make the most of your initial consultation you need to know what to bring and be prepared for what to expect. Keep in mind Florida is a “no fault” state so you do not need evidence of adultery, abuse, etc. to file.
What to Bring to the Divorce Consultation
Divorce can be a confusing time, and while friends and family may share their divorce stories, many are not applicable to your situation. The best person to answer questions about your divorce is your attorney. Preparing a list of questions ahead of time will ensure you don’t forget them.
While financial holdings will be brought to light during a discovery phase in a divorce, if you opt for a collaborative divorce no discovery will be done. Bringing a list of what you own and what you owe will give your divorce attorney a better idea of what to ask for and the support obligations that may be considered.
A copy of a current budget as a married couple and one after divorce, pay stubs, and tax returns are also helpful. If you had a prenuptial agreement, bring a copy of that as well.
In addition to a timeline of marriage events and births, this should include documents such as:
- Marriage certificate
- Copies of previous divorce decrees
- Separation agreements
- Court orders
- Counseling paperwork
- Paternity documents (if obtained)
This may also include any issues (your’s or your spouse’s) within the marriage. Again, Florida is a “no fault” state so while these issues do not come into play as part of the divorce, they may be valid for establishing child custody arrangements.
What to Expect
This first consultation with a divorce attorney provides a lot of information on the process and options of divorce so bring some paper for your questions and to take notes. It’s not uncommon to leave the office with your head spinning in what is an emotional time.
One of the most difficult questions you may be asked (and one the judge will ask in court) is, “Is this marriage irretrievably broken?” Even if you are filing for divorce, hearing these words can evoke emotion. This can be disconcerting if it’s the first time you’ve faced it. It’s okay. A seasoned divorce attorney knows the emotions behind the ending of a marriage.
The divorce process is an emotional one and you will be discussing personal things with your attorney. Your spouse may bring up surprising things to his/her attorney that you had no intention of revealing, but a good attorney handles this in stride.on Feb 27, 2015