Gathering Documents for Your Lawyer

If you are thinking it has come the time to file for divorce, or any other important family law matter, there are certain types of documents a spouse or parent should always bring with him or her when meeting with a lawyer for the first time. Being prepared with these documents can assist an attorney in any initial consultation to better advise you with respect to your divorce or family law matter. So what should you bring with you?

  1. Important legal documents. This includes marriage certificates and birth certificates. If you are not yet divorced, but you have a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement, you should bring this with you as well. If you are already divorced, or never married, and there are existing court orders regarding your spouse or your children, you should bring any of the current court orders with you, as well as any related agreements, such as a Separation Agreement.
  2. Financial documents. This includes recent paystubs. You should bring at least one month’s worth of paystubs. You will also want to bring your most recent tax return, including the supporting schedules and forms, including your W-2 or 1099. If you have the current balances of your bank accounts, retirement accounts, and other investments, this can be helpful to the attorney as well. Financial documentation such as this can assist an attorney in advising you with respect to any financial aspect of your divorce or family law case, such as alimony, child support, and division of assets.
  3. Important documents specific to your case. Is there anything else about your divorce or family law matter that the attorney should see? Has your spouse recently posted something negative or incriminating on social media? Do you have any photos or videos that are an important aspect of your case? If you think there is something important about your case, make sure the attorney knows about it right away.
  4. Questions for your attorney. For most people, meeting with a divorce or family law attorney is an overwhelming process. You are at a stressful time in your life, and you need legal help to get through this hard time. It can be confusing and mind-boggling, especially if you have never met with an attorney before and are not familiar with the legal process. Thus, you are bound to have questions. Prepare your questions in advance, and bring them with you to your meeting with the attorney. The attorney will go through your case in detail, and if at the end, the attorney has not answered all your questions in discussing your case, make sure you ask the questions. You want to be comfortable with the attorney who will be handling the case, so make sure all of your questions are answered and you understand and are satisfied with the answers.
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