Your first meeting with your divorce attorney is your chance to get clear answers, advice, and legal information. Until now, you’ve probably had millions of questions running through your mind, and if you’re like most people, you’ve done some Googling to try to get some information. Divorce is complicated because each state has its own laws about custody, child support, alimony, and property settlement and because your divorce is different than everyone else’s because you are different people with different assets and debts. Your first meeting with your attorney will help clear up many of your questions and allow you to plan for the months ahead. To make the most of this meeting however, it is essential that you come prepared.
Know Your Facts
You will get the most of out the meeting if you can come with some basic financial facts ready to share:
- Your individual incomes and a history of incomes
- The value of your home and amount of the mortgage
- The value of your cars and car loans
- An estimate of the total value of all of your other assets, including investments
- Information about pensions
- An estimate of your total debt, including credit card debt and student loans
Coming to the meeting with these facts in hand will allow your attorney to give you a much more definite picture of what your settlement might look like and jumpstart the process so things can move more quickly.
Write Down Your Questions
This is your chance to get clear answers about all of the things that have been keeping you awake at night. How is custody decided? How much child support will be involved in your case? Should you move out of the house? Do you have to put money in the joint checking account? Can you remove valuables from the house? Can you refuse to let your ex see your kids?
This is also the time to get information about New Jersey divorce laws. Ask your attorney to explain things like grounds for divorce, child support formulas, equitable distribution, pension and Social Security division. You likely will come to the meeting with some incorrect assumptions, so don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything and everything involved in your case, no matter how basic it might seem to you. Your attorney is there to address all of your concerns and help you understand exactly how the process will work.
This is also the time to ask detailed questions about costs. How much will your attorney charge? How much are the court fees? How much can you expect the divorce to cost?
Get Your Marching Orders
Find out what you should be doing in the coming weeks. Are there documents and information your attorney needs you to gather? What should you do in terms of sharing parenting time with your ex? How should you manage joint funds and joint assets? What should you do about joint debt, such as credit cards? When should you call your attorney again? What kinds of things does he or she need to know about as you are moving forward? Get clear information about what you need to do, what you should do, and what you should plan for.
At DeTorres & DeGeorge, your future is our focus. Make an appointment today to discuss your divorce.