Determining What to Bring to Your Consultation With a Divorce Lawyer

Your divorce should start off on the right track with the help of an attorney. Here are 7 things to bring to a divorce lawyer for your first consultation.

Make sure to bring these 7 things to the first consultation with your divorce lawyer:

  • Completed Schedule of Assets and Debts
  • Filled-Out Income and Expense Declaration
  • List of Questions
  • Tax Returns
  • Important Facts About Your Case
  • Documents Already Filed
  • Any Evidence to Strengthen Your Case

Preparing and bringing necessary documents to the first consultation with your attorney can save you lots of time and money. It can help set your divorce on the right track and make sure your attorney has the information needed to properly protect you throughout the divorce. If you’re looking for an experienced divorce attorney, contact Her Lawyer.

1. Completed Schedule of Assets and Debts

The most important document to bring to your first meeting with a divorce attorney is a completed Schedule of Assets and Debts (Form FL-142). A Schedule of Assets and Debts records all community/marital property, separate property, debts, and must include supporting documentation. This form must be completed in every divorce, so it’s better to get ahead of the curve and fill it out as soon as possible. The document is fairly simple to complete if you have the necessary information at hand, so you should be able to complete it rather quickly.

2. Filled-Out Income and Expense Declaration

Another important document to bring is a completed Income and Expense Declaration (Form FL-150). The Income and Expense Declaration lists your income, expenses, and must include recent paystubs or other proofs of income. This document is crucial in matters relating to child support, spousal support, and property division.

3. Bring a List of Questions to Ask The Attorney

A great way to save time and money is to bring a list of questions to ask the attorney. You’ll want to get as much out of this consultation as possible, so prepare a list of questions that you’ll need to be answered so you can move on to the next topic quickly. Your list can be concise and bullet-pointed, but make sure to include any questions you consider essential to understanding your attorney and your case. For 10 questions to ask a divorce attorney, click here.

4. Tax Returns

Try to bring at least one recent year of you and your spouse’s joint tax returns. Bringing more than one year’s tax returns would be ideal. If you and your spouse filed for taxes separately, bring copies of your and their tax returns (if you have access). This can help build your case and give your attorney an accurate understanding of you and your spouse’s financial situation.

5. Important Facts About Your Case

Clients can lose track of time or thoughts in their first meeting with the attorney; divorce is a stressful matter, so this is totally understandable and common. Before your meeting, try to recall and record any important facts regarding you and your spouse’s marriage, children, or financial situation. Present these facts to your divorce lawyer to help them get a deeper understanding of the situation at hand. The more relevant information your attorney has about your case, the more likely you are to win favorable divorce terms.

6. Documents Already Filed

It’s possible that you or your spouse have already begun your divorce process and filed the initial divorce papers. If so, you’ll need to bring all divorce papers that you’ve filed or been served. Forms already filed may include:

  • Petition — Marriage/Domestic Partnership (Form FL-100)
  • Summons (Family Law) (Form FL-110)
  • Property Declaration (Family Law) (Form FL-160)
  • Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) (Form FL-105/GC-120)
  • Child Custody and Visitation (Parenting Time) Application Attachment (Form FL-311)
  • Response — Marriage/Domestic Partnership (Form FL-120)

If divorce papers have already been filed, bring these documents to your divorce attorney. This will strengthen your divorce case and increase your chances of winning favorable terms with ease.

7. Any Evidence That Strengthens Your Case

Specific information or evidence that supports your claims should be brought to the first meeting with your divorce lawyer. This can include proof of your spouse’s wrongdoing or confirmation that you’re a responsible parent. Court orders, police reports, emails, text messages, photos, for other documents can serve as ample proof of your spouse’s wrongdoing and can ultimately help build your case. You should collect, organize, and bring these documents to the first consultation with your attorney.

Contact Us

If you’re wondering what you need to bring to the first meeting with your divorce lawyer in California, contact us. We’ll get you in touch with the right attorney for your particular needs and preferences. Your first consultation is free. We’re here to help you 24/7.