Making the decision to divorce is never easy, and choosing to contact a divorce attorney can make it feel all the more final.
If the thought of gathering any documents in preparation for a divorce consultation causes you stress, do not worry. You can get great benefits from a consultation with an experienced divorce attorney without a single sheet of paper. However, if you are the type of person who manages better by preparing for big meetings, like the consultation with your divorce attorney, then feel free to gather as many of these items as you can for your consultation with your divorce attorney.
- Your marriage documents
Your lawyer will need to know when and where you and your spouse were legally married, so bring a copy of your marriage certificate. This helps your lawyer establish that you are legally married to your spouse and that a court may grant you a divorce.
- Documents for any marital property and personal property
Much of the divorce process deals with finances, particularly the splitting and managing of property. Your attorney will want to know what the court will likely split between you and your spouse.
Did you and your spouse have a pre-nuptial agreement? Make sure to bring that with you as well.
Likewise, it’s best to let your lawyer know what is solely yours (because you acquired it before the marriage), so they know what shouldn’t be split with your spouse.
- Tax returns, pay stubs, and employment records
The court may order that one spouse pay maintenance to the other (also known as spousal support or alimony) to help care for children or help the other spouse maintain the same standard of living.
Providing your lawyer with proof of income through tax returns, pay stubs, and employment records can help determine what you or your spouse are entitled to receive or obligated to pay.
- Documents for any other sources of income or investment
Do you own a business or have any other sources of income that don’t come from a job?
Bring documents showing what you earn or receive from those sources to help your lawyer determine your and your spouse’s actual, total income. Provide your lawyer with these statements to further determine you or your spouse’s likely financial obligation to the other.
- Mortgage documents, leases, and any other debt documents
Just as it’s important to know what you and your spouse own and earn, no financial picture is complete without knowing what debt you have and what you and your spouse are still responsible to pay.
- Any other legal documents affecting your marriage
It’s important for your divorce lawyer to know if you or your spouse are involved in any other legal matters.
For example, if you have a restraining order against your spouse, your lawyer needs a copy of it.
- Any “evidence” of your spouse’s wrongdoing in the marriage
While many marriages end because of differences between the spouses, sometimes, there’s a specific reason for the divorce. This is known as a “fault” divorce.
If you have evidence that you’d like to use as grounds for divorce, make sure your attorney has this evidence. This could be evidence of any of the following:
- Domestic violence
- Other harm that your spouse has done to you or your children
This can affect the process and outcome of the divorce, especially if yours is a covenant marriage.
- Any documents that have already been filed in the divorce
If you have already started the divorce proceedings (either on your own or with a different attorney), bring all relevant information, documents, and filings that have already taken place with this process to your meeting with your new attorney.
- A list of any other relevant facts
If there’s anything you specifically want your attorney to know about your marriage, your spouse, or you, make sure to bring these facts to your meeting.
For example, if you financially supported your spouse while they finished college, you may be entitled to compensation for that. Your divorce attorney would know best what the court needs to know, so give your attorney anything you think they should know.
- Any questions you have for your divorce attorney
Always come to your consultation with your questions handy! It can be very easy to lose track of time and forget what you wanted to ask unless you have them written out on paper in front of you. We will be more than happy to answer those questions for you.
Contact Stanley-Wallace Law to schedule your first consultation
At Stanley-Wallace Law, we’ll take time to listen to what’s most important to you in your divorce proceedings and work toward a favorable outcome. Give us a call at 985-288-4621 to learn more.