Follow checklist to save time, money
Once you’ve chosen a divorce attorney, you’ll need to provide information and direction to him or her. When your attorney requests information, respond as quickly, completely, and concisely as you can — don’t waste your own and your lawyer’s time by writing a 24-page document when all that was required was a ” yes ” or ” no ” answer.
When your attorney requests information, respond as quickly, completely, and concisely as you can
Of course, every case is unique, but the following checklist will give you an idea of what information your divorce lawyer will need. You need to disclose:
- Why you are seeking a divorce What caused your breakup? Are you sure you want to end the marriage, or is the visit to a lawyer meant to be a wake-up call to your spouse? ” The client needs to be sure that he or she actually wants a divorce, ” says Wildstein. ” If he or she’s secretly hoping for a reconciliation, then the client and lawyer are working towards different goals.”
- Personal DataPersonal data about you, your spouse, and your children (if any). Write down your names (maiden name, too, if applicable); your home and work addresses and telephone numbers; your ages and places of birth; your Social Security Numbers; your states of health — both mental and physical; your Green Card(s) and immigration papers (if applicable).
- Facts about your marriage: When and where did you get married? Did you sign a prenuptial agreement? If so, bring a copy of the agreement with you. Have either of you been married before? Provide details of your previous divorce(s).
- Children Whether there will be issues involving your children — such as custody or access.
- Financial information What assets and debts did each of you bring into the marriage? What are your incomes and what are your expenses — jointly and individually? What are the names and addresses of your employers? How much money does both of you have invested: in the bank, the stock market, etc.? Has either of you invested in insurance, a pension plan, a Pension and Profit Savings Plan? What property do you own (a house, car, boat, income property, etc.)? Was the property purchased before or after the marriage? Do you have a mortgage, and how much is still owed? Prior to seeing your lawyer, create a budget detailing how much you spend every month on items such as housing, food, clothing, personal grooming, gifts, vacations, etc. If you have children, and expect to be their primary caretaker, make sure you factor their costs into your budget.
- Legal documents Bring copies of prior or pending lawsuits, bankruptcy suits, judgments, and garnishments.
- Your divorce goals. Be very specific about your goals in terms of realizing your future and have your short-term goals for property, other assets, custody, visitation, and support are consistent with that future.