If you’re facing a divorce, your world is probably a little upside down right now. It’s a very jarring experience to go through a divorce. You have to start thinking about life after divorce, figure out your finances, deal with all of the emotions swirling through you, and hire a lawyer to handle your case.
With so much to deal with, the one thing that shouldn’t be overwhelming or stressful is meeting with a Florida divorce attorney. After all, it’s the attorney’s job to make your divorce easier on you…to reduce your stress.
Of course, before you hire a divorce lawyer, you need to meet with the lawyer to ensure they’re the right choice for you. This involves an initial consultation. Knowing what to expect during your consultation with a potential divorce attorney will prepare you to get the most from the consultation so you can make an informed decision that’s truly in your best interest.
The first thing you need to do is show up to your first consultation with the right documents. Some of the things you should bring include: the last few years of tax filings, your most recent W-2, any evidence you might have of marital misconduct, retirement statements, financial statements (bank statements, credit card bills, etc.), list of property, legal documents, and anything else your divorce lawyer requests.
Why are these documents so important?
Because they help the attorney understand your average income and assets so that he or she can work to ensure fair division of property and support arrangements for your divorce.
You also need to be prepared to ask your lawyer a number of questions to determine if this truly is the best divorce attorney for your case.
Some questions you need to ask are:
• How long have you been handling divorce cases in Florida? You need a lawyer that has been practicing family law in Florida for several years. Florida divorce laws are different from those in other states, so make sure your lawyer has the right experience to handle your case without any mistakes being made.
• Have you handled a case like mine? Every divorce case is different. Your case may be centered around some specific element (e.g. marital misconduct, child abuse) that requires a unique approach. You want to be certain the lawyer you choose has worked on cases that are similar to yours.
• What approach will you take with this case? Every lawyer has his or her own style. Some lawyers are really aggressive; others are laid back. And other lawyers bring a balance, allowing them to be as aggressive as necessary to protect your rights and secure a positive outcome to your case.
• How much do you charge? Rates are very important. You need to know if you can afford to hire the attorney, and you need to understand how the attorney will bill you so there are no surprises later.
With this information, you’ll get much more from your initial consultation with a divorce lawyer.