By: Jaclyn Zembrodt Taylor
Law Clerk, Melissa Doss Law
July 1, 2019
Setting up an initial consultation for divorce can invoke many different emotions—happy, sad, anxious, stressed, etc. Most individuals beginning the divorce process know nothing until they meet with an attorney, and the unknown is scary. At the same time, meeting with an attorney is expensive and prior to doing so, you want to be as prepared as you can so you don’t waste your own time and money. If you bring the following list of items to your initial divorce consultation, the attorney you are meeting with will have a better sense of who you and your spouse are, the quoted retainer will likely be more accurate. In addition, the attorney can answer more of your specific questions.
1. Full name, birthdate, and social security numbers for you, your spouse, and your children.
2. Current bank account statements showing the current balances in each.
3. Current statements for any retirement account possessed by you or your spouse.
4. Three most recent paystubs or pay statements from all positions of employment you hold.
5. W2 forms from the past two years (if possible).
6. Proof of the health insurance plan you have for you, your spouse, and your children and the breakdown of the different plan options available to you based on who you cover.
7. Mortgage statement showing how much is owed on the marital home (if applicable) and any other real estate properties you or your spouse own.
8. A list of any property that you or your spouse had prior to marriage that you or your spouse wish to retain post-decree.
9. An inventory list of all credit cards in you or your spouses’ names, including a total balance on each card.
10. An inventory list of all other debt you and/or your spouse acquired during the time you were married, including medical debt.
11. Kelly Blue Book Values for any cars you or your spouse own.
Please keep in mind that this list is merely a suggestion. If these things are not easily accessible, do not sweat the fact that you cannot bring them to your first meeting. However, in this digital age of technology, several of the items on the list are often obtained through the navigation of an online portal which allows easy and quick access. If you bring them in, your attorney can gauge the total amount of marital debt and marital assets that are involved. In addition, the attorney can make copies of the information you have brought with you to have in their file. They will not have to ask you for them in the future unless an updated version is needed. If you or someone you know are scheduled for an initial divorce consultation, try bringing these items with you for a more efficient use of your time and money.
Photo credit: dgtportraits (https://www.pexels.com/photo/two-woman-chatting-1311518/)