How to Effectively Prepare for your Attorney Meeting
Wheaton Family Law Attorneys
To ensure that your rights and interests are protected during your divorce, you need to secure the services of a competent, experienced divorce lawyer. This lawyer needs to work solely for you; even if you are on amicable terms with your spouse, you each need to retain your own legal counsel.
Before you choose the right attorney to represent your case, interview a few divorce lawyers to get a feel for each one’s style and focus. You should not commit to working with a lawyer until you have done independent research about the divorce lawyers serving your area and each of their individual practice areas and predilections.
Many lawyers offer free consultations to help you conduct your research. Before you meet with a divorce attorney, make sure you are adequately prepared. Keep the following tips in mind to get the most out of each attorney meeting.
Collect the Necessary Paperwork for your Meeting
Do not arrive at your first meeting with a lawyer without the following:
- A document discussing your biographical information, your spouse’s biographical information, and relevant information about your marriage such as your history, your income and assets, and the issues at hand in your marriage;
- Financial information such as pay stubs and tax returns;
- Court documents such as an order of protection, your legal separation form, and if you have already filed for divorce, a copy of your divorce petition;
- Identifying information such as a passport or social security card for yourself and each of your children; and
- Any relevant evidence to your case, such as evidence of domestic violence or criminal activity on your partner’s part.
- Arrive before your scheduled meeting time and be ready to discuss your marriage and your divorce plan in detail. Dress professionally, as if you were going to a job interview. Bring a notepad or have a writing app open to take notes about your conversation.
Go to the Meeting with All the Relevant Facts Handy
During your meeting with each prospective divorce attorney, be prepared to provide answers to the attorney’s questions as well. These questions might be about how long you were married, whether you have children, and the current status of your relationship with your spouse, such as whether you are living apart.
If you have an inventory of your assets and their values, bring it. Likewise, if you have a temporary custody order or another court order involving your children, bring that to your meeting.
Know the Questions you Plan to Ask
Meeting with a divorce attorney for the first time can be intimidating. Before you go, write out a list of questions you have for your attorney. It might help to bring these questions on note cards, a sheet of paper, or in your phone.
You might want to ask if the attorney thinks you are a good candidate for mediation or collaborative law. You should also consider asking about the timeline for your divorce and how your assets will be divided. If you have already worked out some parts of your property division or you have a prenuptial agreement, bring this up during your attorney meeting.
If you have special considerations, such as a small business, a portfolio of real estate properties, or if you or your spouse are an active member of the military, discuss this during your meeting. The more information your attorney has, the more capable he or she will be of helping you.
Remember, your Goal is to Choose the Right Attorney for your Case
Your interview with each prospective attorney should be to determine whether he or she is suited to work through your divorce with you. Choose a lawyer who you feel you can trust. A few other factors to consider when determining the right lawyer for your case include:
- The lawyer’s price quote and billing style;
- The lawyer’s experience handling cases with similar issues to yours;
- The lawyer’s record of previous divorce cases; and
- The lawyer’s ability and willingness to litigate your case.
Work with an Experienced DuPage County Family Law Firm
If you are planning to file for divorce, take the time to interview multiple divorce lawyers before choosing the one who will represent your case. A lawyer who sounds great on the web might not be so easy to work with in person. Even if a lawyer is objectively great at handling divorce cases, he or she might not be a good fit for your specific needs. To schedule your free consultation with an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney at Abear Law Offices, call our office or contact us on the web.