By Dana McKee
Before you hire a divorce attorney, you will likely have a consultation – this is an opportunity for the attorney to find out more about your set of circumstances and a chance for you to ask questions. While most attorneys offer initial consultations for a nominal fee, having specific information and documents with you at the consultation will allow you to spend productive time evaluating your position for alimony, child support, custody, and visitation. With the right information, the attorney can provide more focused advice and offer a better estimate of your divorce costs and timeline.
Consider bringing the following to the consultation:
1. Ownership/lien documents for real property – personal residences, vacation homes, rentals, commercial buildings, and timeshares – in which you and/or your spouse have interests, plus
- documents indicating the person(s) responsible for the loan and the balance of the encumbrance if the property is subject to a mortgage, home equity line, or lien; and
- a recent appraisal or online estimate of the value of the property.
2. A list of any significant personal property that you or your spouse own – cars, boats, artwork, jewelry, antiques, and the like, and
- any documents showing the current fair market value of these items;
- records indicating how the property is titled; and
- documents reflecting any liens on the property.
3. Income documentation for you and your spouse, such as
- most recent tax return; and
- last six paystubs.
4. Most recent statements for all financial accounts, including
- checking accounts;
- savings accounts;
- credit card accounts; and
- retirement accounts. (Most financial institutions allow you to easily download and print your statements online.)
5. Documentation regarding expenses for any child born or adopted during the marriage, including
- childcare expenses;
- private school tuition and associated costs;
- extracurricular activity fees; and
- the cost of health insurance attributable to the children only (not including the cost of health insurance for yourself or your spouse).
6. An open mind. Divorce is not easy! While you may have an idea of what you want out of the divorce, it is the attorney’s job to provide you with the best options to proceed based on the facts of your case and your goals.
Interested in a consultation? Call us at (410) 962-1030 to schedule an appointment.