Making the Most of Your Initial Consultation
When people marry, they hope the marriage will last forever. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Whether the desire to end your marriage is yours, your spouse’s, or mutual, the prospect of going through a divorce is bound to be upsetting for both parties.
The Aretsky Law Group specializes in divorce and family law and their lawyers are ready to lead you step by step through the process. Your initial consultation is very important and we at the Aretsky Law Group are pleased to offer this consultation on a complimentary basis. Rest assured that all the information you provide in order to set up the meeting and during the consultation will be held in strictest confidence whether or not you hire our firm. Also, this consultation will not commit you to going ahead with the divorce.
During your initial consultation, it is important that you listen carefully and take notes. It is not uncommon to be nervous, and you do not want to forget important information the attorney gives you. Even more importantly, remember always to tell the truth. Don’t leave out information because you think it might later hurt your case. We want to help you and can do so only if you are completely honest and forthright.
In order to make the most of your Consultation, you should come prepared. The more information you provide, the better equipped we will be to advise you. Here is a summary of what you can expect:
You will be asked to provide basic information such as the names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and social-security numbers of the parties involved. Other questions will pertain to your marriage, including the place and date of your marriage and whether it was a civil or religious ceremony. You will also be asked if either of you was previously married.
Questions Dealing with Minor Children
Another set of questions will involve any minor children. In addition to basic information about their names and ages, you will be asked to provide information regarding any special-education or medical needs. You might also be asked about your and your spouse’s parenting skills. This information will help us form a realistic assessment regarding custody and parenting time later on.
Questions Dealing with Financial Matters
Many questions will deal with financial matters in order to assess your situation. Do you have a premarital agreement? What is your and your spouse’s net worth and income? How would you describe your current lifestyle? What is your ability to earn a living? What is your spouse’s ability to earn a living?
Questions of a More Personal Nature
In addition to the basic informational questions, those regarding your minor children, and questions dealing with your finances, we will also need to elicit information of a more personal nature. Have you and/or your spouse ever visited a marriage counselor? Is there a chance of reconciliation? Do you have reason to consider yourself a victim of domestic violence? Has there been any misconduct on your part?
The more information you provide, the better able we will be to provide you with sound advice as to how to continue and what you can expect. Either at the initial consultation or at a later date, you will have to provide certain documents. Most will have to do with financial matters and they should include documents for both parties. The following is a partial list of items needed:
- Individual and business income tax returns for the last 3 years
- W-2 statements for the last 3 years
- Bank statements for all accounts, joint and separate
- Pay stubs
- Statements regarding real estate and other property
- Statements regarding stocks and bonds
- Statements regarding IRAs and other retirement income and savings
- Statements regarding credit cards and other outstanding debt
- Wills, premarital agreements, and other legal documents
- Photographs, recordings, correspondence, and anything else you think might substantiate or defend against a future claim
- Anything you think your spouse might use to substantiate a future claim
The following is a link to the Aretsky Law Group, P.C., Divorce Survival Kit. Browse or download the file to get a more complete idea of what information will be required and to prepare for your consultation:
Until now, we have discussed the types of questions we will ask you. Just as important, however, are the questions you would like to ask us. Bring with you a list of the questions that you would like answered. Because time is limited, try to focus your questions on the areas that concern you most. When the consultation has ended and all of the questions have been asked and answered, we will summarize for you what you should expect in terms of the divorce process, child custody, parenting time, alimony and child support, division of assets and liabilities, and attorney fees and other costs. You will then be able to make an informed decision about if, how, and when you want to proceed.