For a brief moment, you can’t help to think back to the magic of your wedding day. No doubt you were certain that you’d met the man or woman of your dreams. However, things meant to last an eternity can also end sooner than envisioned. As you prepare for your first meeting with a divorce lawyer, you should know what to expect.
In the first place, what’s the reason you need a family law attorney? Have you decided your marriage is over and want to learn how to end it? If you are the one considering the filing of a divorce action, you are known as the plaintiff.
That said, there’s also the chance that your spouse has decided to take the first step. Although the term “defendant,” might sound a bit disconcerting, you should not be alarmed that you are potentially in legal trouble. However, you absolutely need to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
If you’ve been served with a Complaint for Divorce, you must file an Answer within 35 days of service. A failure to respond could put you in a precarious position. Best to set up the meeting with a divorce lawyer as soon as possible. And, be sure to bring the Divorce Complaint with you.
What You’ll Need
Consider this. Your first meeting with a family law attorney is your opportunity to gather basic knowledge and essentially interview your prospective legal advocate. Many experienced divorce attorneys will offer you a one-hour consultation at no cost. Therefore, you want to take advantage of the complimentary time and come prepared.
You may want to start by making a list of important dates. When were you married? Have the two of you separated? If so, when? Do you have children? What are their birthdates?
During your first meeting, the attorney will guide you through revealing the reasons your marriage is coming to an end. Without question, it’s an emotional time. Are there allegations of domestic violence? What about custody and support issues? Think of jotting down some notes to keep you on track.
If possible, be prepared to supply the attorney with at least basic financial information. It might be helpful to come up with last year’s tax return or current paystubs. Try to determine the monthly bills as they apply to you and your children.
What to Expect from the First Meeting
More than likely, you have a ton of questions and concerns. Try to pinpoint the major issues and also feel free to voice how you’d like things to progress. For example, you may be angry that your spouse cheated on you. Your attorney can provide you with advice on concerning whether it’s a good idea to pursue a divorce for adultery as a cause. Or, not.
Although you may feel uneasy about the whole situation, family law attorneys are accustomed to assisting clients through the process. You’ll likely have questions about what happens to the personal and real property you acquired during the marriage. If you share children, custody, parenting time and support are often the most critical consideration. Your fears concerning spousal support are also significant.
The bottom line is that you need to plan your consultation with a divorce lawyer from many aspects. Take along a pad and write down notes so that you have a record of what you’ve learned and can make educated choices during this trying time in your life.