Finding a family law attorney can be harder than it seems. Why? Not because there’s a shortage of family law attorneys in town, but because you’ve got to make sure that the one you choose is the right fit for you depending on your current situation.
Typically, when you call Stanley-Wallace Law in Slidell, you’ll be asked a few questions to get an idea of what services you need, but the real work — learning about your case and plan of action — starts at your first meeting with your lawyer.
Here are some things you should do before your meeting to make sure you’re properly prepared:
- Write down important details from your marriage: Your lawyer will ask questions about your marriage and what led you to where you are now, but if there are important details you think you might forget, write them down in advance. This will save you and your lawyer potential headaches down the road.
- Write down your questions: You’ll likely have lots of questions for your lawyer when you first meet, so many that it can be hard to remember them all. But you don’t want to end up not getting the information you need because you can’t remember everything you wanted to ask. That’s why it’s so important to write your questions down ahead of time. Keep the list of questions handy, and write them down as they come to you. You’ll thank yourself later.
- If custody is an issue, make sure to write down what concerns you the most regarding custody and what your perfect-world scenario looks like. You and your lawyer will talk extensively about who has been involved with the children more, what the children’s relationships look like with each parent, and what some possible outcomes for child custody and visitation look like. Make sure to mention if there are any concerns regarding mental health, substance abuse or domestic violence.
- Bring your tax returns: What you tell your family attorney means a lot, but what’s on paper means more. Tax returns will reveal quite a bit about the overall financial situation of you and your spouse. Money will be one of the biggest obstacles in the divorce process, so it’s crucial that your lawyer has as much information as possible. It will also help in determining if there may be a spousal support or child support award.
- Bring other financial documents: Not only are tax returns important for your family law lawyer, other financial documents — like three months of paycheck stubs, military benefits statements, savings bonds, bank statements, investment account statements, etc — are also needed for your lawyer to get a clear picture of what’s at stake.
What’s the most important thing you can do when you first meet with your attorney?
- Be honest! We know there are details about your marriage and your life that you don’t want to share, and there are moments you may not be proud of. We’ve all been there! You’ll need to set aside your anxiety about sharing those uncomfortable things, and be completely honest with your attorney when you meet. If your lawyer is caught off-guard, it can be detrimental to you and your case.
If you’re looking to consult with a family law attorney, call Kristen Stanley-Wallace’s office today.