When you are thinking of going through a divorce, one thing that you should do early on is talk to your attorney about it. A divorce could have complications, but by talking to your attorney in advance, you can discuss possible outcomes and steps to take to make the divorce simpler for you and your spouse.
That being said, prior to going to see your attorney, there are some documents that you should gather. For example, your attorney will want to give you a consultation, but without knowing about your assets, the value of your property and other aspects of your marriage, they may not be able to be as helpful as if you had those documents prepared.
Before you meet your attorney: 3 important steps
There are three steps to take before you meet your attorney. These include:
- Preparing your financial documents
- Preparing basic information about yourself and your spouse. If you have children, bring information about them as well.
- Getting appraisals on important assets
To start with, it’s a good idea to prepare your financial documents for your attorney. That means listing out your liabilities and assets. You may want to bring copies of:
- Bank account information
- Credit card statements
- 401K plans
- Auto titles
- Real estate mortgage documents
- Your previous tax returns for at least two years
- Your pay stubs for you and your spouse
Next, you should prepare information about yourself, spouse and children. Put together basic identifying information as well as copies of any vital documents, like your marriage certificate, domestic violence reports or others that you may need.
Finally, if you have the time to do so, it’s a good idea to get appraisals on your major pieces of property. Knowing the value of your marital estate will help you know what you need and how to negotiate for it.
Your attorney won’t necessarily expect all of this information at your first meeting, but having as much as possible will help speed up your case and minimize the time your attorney spends going through new documents. You will likely also save money and reduce the number of times you need to meet.