Preparing Your Divorce Consultation Document Kit

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Initial consultations are important – many attorneys offer them free or for a reasonable low fee, so it pays to come prepared. Your potential attorney will give you a list of essential documents but a complicated financial or domestic situation may warrant more upfront information.

Maximize your consultation time by having copies of all the right papers ready to discuss. This quick guide will suggest a few helpful documents you may want to bring along to give your prospective legal team a better idea of your goals and needs. It’s better to show up over-prepared than under-prepared, especially if the wellbeing of yourself or your family is on the line. 

Assets, Debts, Proof Of Income

Take note of any assets that your spouse may contest, such as bank accounts, retirement funds, businesses, investments, cars, boats, and homes. Purchase price and current value are both relevant pieces of information – but even more important is how much each spouse paid into the assets in question. If applicable, how do you use the assets? Were any inherited or owned prior to marriage?

Outstanding debts are complicated to deal with. Mortgages, student loans, credit card debt… your prospective divorce attorney will definitely want to know a little bit about these items. Bring along any documents necessary to establish proof of purchase price and remaining balance. Just as with the assets, try to make note of who contributed to which debts if you feel the differences are substantial enough to come up during mediation or litigation.

Bring along copies of your last three pay stubs. Make a note of your spouse’s income and other household income (grown children, mother/father-in-law). Include recent account statements with amounts and ownership information. Copies of your tax returns for the past several years may prove helpful as well.

Managing Your Documents

Organization is important. A flat-fee consultation offers very little time to get through the necessary information, and a consultation billed hourly will increase in price with every minute that goes toward finding the right documents. Start compiling your informational resources early and use an organization system that makes sense to you.

We suggest making enough copies for everybody on your legal team. Expect your spouse to request a copy of some of the documents. Take some time to visit for informational law videos, information, and ideas to give you an idea of the questions and situations to expect. This will help you decide which documents need the most attention.

Whether you use a binder, a series of folders, or just a simple briefcase, this particular stack of papers will become a valuable resource throughout your entire divorce journey. The consultation is only the beginning – your financial and domestic documents are very likely going to serve as the foundation of any divorce litigation or mediation efforts. You’ll be glad to have these resources on hand when you need them.

Behind the complex emotional and social dynamics of divorce lurks a pile of paperwork. Drudging up obscure financial records and compiling the right information takes time. The sooner you can begin fighting the red tape of the discovery process, the sooner you can start taking proactive measures to rebuild and reenergize your life.

Author Bio
Noah Z. is an Internet Writer that has authored several e-books and published hundreds of articles on various websites and information hubs. With more than 5 years of content writing experience, he specializes in real estate, insurance and technology topics.