It’s inevitable. You and your spouse are separating and you need a family law attorney, and you need one now. Your friends gave you referrals. You researched attorneys in the area, and you interviewed prospective attorneys. Finally, you selected an attorney (preferably one that specializes in family law), and you are ready to retain his or her services. Now the question is what do you bring with you for your first meeting with your attorney?
Once you have filed for divorce or been served with divorce papers, it’s time to gather your financial documents. If you have children, it’s also time to do some soul searching about what is the best custodial and parenting arrangement for your children.
Depending on the issues in your matter, you should start collecting the following documents and lists, and be ready to present them to your attorney at one of your first meetings:
• Child Custody/ Parenting Schedule: Questions, concerns and ideas about a child custody arrangement and parenting schedule. In other words, how do you envision sharing custody and parenting time and duties with the other parent? If you haven’t already thought about it before separating, you better do so now.
• Support: Copies of your most recent pay stubs, preferably for the last two months, and if possible, copies of your spouse’s pay stubs. Also gather and plan on sharing with your attorney copies of your federal and state income tax documents for the last three years.
• Property: Copies of your financial statements for the month you and your spouse separated, as that is when your community ended. Some of the most common statements include, banking, retirement, mortgage, loan, and credit card statements. You should also plan on gathering and bringing with you title documents to vehicles, boats and trailers. You will also want to provide copies of life insurance polices with current cash surrender value and trust agreements, if any, made during marriage.
If possible, you also want to collect and bring with you financial statements for the month you married as that is the month your community started. Assets and debts acquired prior to the date you married your separate property.
Regardless of the issues in your case, you should bring with you a list of questions. Write them down, you don’t want to forget anything. If you have questions regarding dissolution of marriage, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. The Law Office of Family Law Specialist Richard E. Bawden also handles legal issues regarding adoption, annulment, collaborative divorce, divorce, domestic violence, legal separation, litigation, mediation, legal separation, paternity, spousal support, pre-marital and post-marital agreements. Dial 909.792.0222 or email us at [email protected] You might also want to get more information at our website: www.richardbawdenlaw.com. The Law Office of Richard E. Bawden serves the Inland Empire including Riverside, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Redlands, Loma Linda, Mentone, Yucaipa, Beaumont, Banning and Hemet.