While it is not necessary to bring anything to your initial consultation, there are some things you can bring that will be helpful. We have provided detailed lists below which are based on the issue you may wish to consult with us about.
The main goal of our first meeting is to exchange information about your case. After getting some basic information from you, we will explain your legal rights and responsibilities, what you might expect as a result in your case, and ways to obtain that result. It is also a time for us to build rapport and trust.
We suggest that no matter what the reason you are meeting with us about, you bring a pen and a pad of paper or electronic equivalent. This will allow you to take notes and remember what we talked about. We also suggest that you bring a list of any questions you may have in order to maximize your time with us. Lastly, we suggest bringing any documents you have been served with or that have been filed in your family law matter.
Divorce & Legal Separation:
In a typical divorce or legal separation case, we will discuss how long you've been married, whether there are children of the marriage, your respective incomes, and your assets and debts. If you have documents that show these numbers, you can bring them. This will give us accurate figures when we are discussing your plan to move forward. However, you do not need to have them at our first meeting. As long as you have a general idea, we can give you a general answer.
If you have a premarital agreement or postnuptial agreement, we will want to see it.
Child Custody and Visitation:
If you have any previous court orders from any court about the children and their custody, we will want to see them. We will also want a list of the addresses the children have resided at for the last five years. Other than these items, there is likely nothing else you need to bring.
Child Support and Spousal Support:
Child support and spousal support are all about the numbers. These numbers include each party's income, the cost of health insurance, the cost of daycare for the children, union dues, child support paid for any children from a previous relationship, spousal support paid for a previous marriage, mortgage interest, necessary job related expenses, and an estimate of amount of time the children spend with each parent. To the extent you have documentation reflecting any of this information, we will want to see it.
In particular, it is especially helpful to bring copies of your paycheck stubs for the last two months along with copies of the other party's paycheck stubs for the last two months.
Premarital agreements are generally all about your finances. Our meeting will be the most fruitful and productive if you are able to bring copies of your most recent statements from all bank and brokerage accounts, all retirement accounts, and any stocks, bonds, and mutual funds; any life insurance policies; most recent pay stub; copies of your tax returns for the last two years; most recent statements from all credit card or debt obligations; information regarding any real property including the fair market value of the home, total mortgage amount, and names of the people on mortgage and title; and any information regarding any motor vehicles.
We understand that you may not have any of this information when we first meet and can work with you to obtain it.
We look forward to meeting with you.