A lot of introspection and self-reflection usually precedes the life-changing decision to seek a divorce. Our free guide to “Five Things You Must Do Before You Decide to Divorce” lays out the steps you should take and information you should have on hand as you begin the divorce process. You can download the guide here.
One of the most important decisions you will make during your divorce happens will be your first,- retaining your divorce lawyer. Your lawyer will be your ally, your advisor, and your advocate throughout the divorce and beyond, so it is imperative that you make your choice wisely.
In order for your first meeting with your lawyer to be as productive as possible, you need to be completely candid and honest with the lawyer. Remember, everything you discuss is protected by the attorney-client privilege. Tell the lawyer your concerns and goals, and ask any and all questions you may have.
Your lawyer is going to have questions for you as well. He or she will want to have a complete picture of your situation in order to offer you the best advice and develop the best strategy for helping you reach a resolution that protects your rights and achieves your objectives.
In order to help your attorney do this, you will want to gather information and documentation that will not only familiarize him or her with your circumstances but will probably bring you new or additional insight into your financial and other affairs as well.
Before your meeting, try to have learned or assembled the following 13 categories of information:
- Several years of your tax returns;
- Checking and savings account statement;
- Records of all investment accounts and pensions;
- Mortgage statements;
- If you or your spouse operate a business, secure copies of the business records;
- Inventory of the contents of safe deposit boxes;
- Credit card bills and credit reports;
- Income of each spouse
- Expenses of each spouse
- Assets of the spouses (joint and separate), including such things as art, antiques, fine jewelry, cash, vehicles, real estate and furniture
- Liabilities of each spouse
- Employee benefits each spouse is entitled to
- Life, health, and disability insurance policies owned by each spouse
If your spouse handled the bills, taxes, and paperwork, you may have to do some digging. But having this information in advance will make your meeting with your attorney more effective, efficient, and productive.
At Clement Law, we provide trusted counsel and effective advocacy to individuals in New York and New Jersey going through the transition of divorce. While thorough and aggressive, we help clients resolve their cases in novel and creative ways in order to minimize strife and reach a positive resolution. If you’d like to discuss any issues relating to divorce, please give us a call at (212) 683-9551 or fill out our online form to arrange for a consultation. We look forward to assisting you.
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