What to Expect At Your Initial Meeting with Your Divorce Attorney
Ending a marriage is never an easy thing to do. If you have children, your mind begins to wonder what will happen with the children, who will get custody, etc. This major life change can bring worries of money issues, residency changes, and a host of other concerns. If you have already made the decision to divorce your spouse, then you likely already have, or will soon, contact an attorney who focuses on divorce. Meeting with your attorney should not cause you additional stress or worry, but unfortunately, human nature drives such worry. Knowing what to expect can help alleviate some of that stress, so read on for more information.
First and foremost, your meeting with your attorney is strictly confidential and private. Your attorney will not be calling your spouse or your employer to inform them of your decision to end your marriage. Simply put, they can’t. Attorneys are bound by strict rules of professional ethics, and attorneys are deeply committed to upholding this ethical obligation.
Your meeting will likely take place at your attorney’s office (or sometimes a different agreed-upon locale). The attorney will take your basic information to begin a file: name, address, occupation, contact information, when/where they can contact you, etc. Again, your attorney will not contact anyone without your express permission.
Questions About Your Marriage(s) and Children
Your attorney will also ask you about your current marriage. He or she will want to know how long you have been married and where you got married. Inquiries as to whether you or your spouse previously filed for divorce from one another but did not ultimately end the marriage should also be expected. Your attorney may also want to know why you have chosen to end the marriage (e.g., domestic violence, unhappy, abandonment, adultery, etc.). All of the questions regarding your current marriage as well as your past are asked because the answers to these questions will assist your attorney in preparing the case.
Questions regarding your children should also be expected. Your attorney will need to know whether your children are from your current marriage or from previous relationships (including previous marriages), their ages, and whether child support is paid or received by you. Knowing any particular medical or psychological issues of the children is also important because this information may play a role later on when child support and/or child custody or visitation issues arise.
Questions About Money and Financial Issues
Your current financial situation will likely play a large part in your divorce case. Questions about your net worth, bank accounts, retirement accounts, pensions, and real estate should be expected. A general list of your assets will be compiled by your attorney. Don’t worry if you don’t have every single piece of information at this initial meeting; your attorney will take charge and help you throughout the entire process. Your attorney will also need to know your income and expenses as well as your estimated earning capacity. A lot of this information will depend on your career, whether you plan to enroll in a university or seek another degree, etc. Information regarding any debts such as student loan debt, credit card debt, and mortgages will also help your attorney in understanding your particular situation.
Because property division, spousal support, child custody and child support play a central role in the divorce process, it is of utmost importance that you are open and honest with your attorney about your financial and family situation. Your attorney will be able to assist you best if you are answering his or her questions honestly. If you are contemplating divorce in the State of New York, our firm can assist you. At Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP, we have decades of experience in divorce and family law matters, so you can rest assured that your divorce will be handled professionally and with care.