In New Jersey and throughout the country, deciding to end a marriage is rarely an easy decision. Whether a spouse wants to file for divorce or has recently been served with a divorce petition, the situation can be stressful. People who schedule consultations with divorce attorneys might wonder what they should expect during an initial meeting. Here is what might occur when you meet a divorce attorney for the first time.
When you meet with a divorce attorney, you should be prepared to discuss your situation. The attorney should take notes and listen to you as you explain what is occurring. They will begin by gathering some of your basic information, including your name, phone number, email address, and home address. They will also want information about your children, your spouse, and when you were first married. You will likely do most of the talking, but the attorney will ask questions about the information they need.
Your lawyer will need to know about your assets and liabilities, including your income, your spouse’s income, bank accounts, investment accounts, real property, personal property, and debts. This type of information is important for the property division portion of a divorce. It is a good idea to gather as much information as you can before filing for divorce since it will be easier to get the necessary documents from your spouse before a petition is filed. Some of the documents you should gather and bring to your appointment include the following:
- Recent bank account statements
- Income tax returns for the past couple of years
- Recent bill statements
- Recent IRA, 401(k), and investment account statements
- Copies of deeds and vehicle titles
Once an attorney reviews your information, they might explain what they might be able to do. They will likely explain their fee arrangement. You should make certain that you understand it before agreeing to retain a lawyer. Finally, you should not hire an attorney to handle your divorce unless you are comfortable with them.