Preparing For Your First Consultation

Many people are surprised by what they learn during an initial consultation with a family lawyer. They don't anticipate all the factors that could affect the outcome of their divorce or child support case, and they often don't know the likelihood of achieving the outcome they want.

Additionally, they are experiencing a stressful time in life, making it difficult to separate emotions from facts. But even in the most personal of family law matters, the court will need to use a rational, businesslike approach when arriving at a decision. The involvement of an experienced family law attorney can help you understand what the court needs in order to handle your case.

An experienced attorney is trained to apply the law to your particular situation and to work with you to pursue the solution you need. At the Lakewood, Colorado, law office of Diane S. Freed, P.C., we're here to help. Contact our office at 303-500-8865 to schedule a consultation.

It's A Time For Honest Discussion

Your initial consultation is the time to discuss the events that caused you to seek a family law attorney. You may have to talk about things that are upsetting; the lawyer may ask you some disturbing or pointed questions. You do not have to worry about shocking your lawyer. An experienced attorney has probably heard a similar story.

It is important for you to be forthcoming and honest. An attorney who doesn't know all the facts can't be as effective as possible. Remember, your communication with your attorney is protected by the attorney-client privilege.

What Information Will You Need To Bring?

Give your attorney a head start on the discovery process by preparing for your initial consultation. This is a lengthy list. While this information may not be needed at your initial consultation, it will be needed at some point during the divorce process. Do your best to gather all of the following information:

  • A copy of your marriage certificate. Date of marriage and timeline of events in marriage
  • Information about any prior marriage of either spouse, including a certified copy of the divorce decree
  • A copy of any domestic contracts (e.g., a prenuptial agreement)
  • Information about any previous legal proceedings between the spouses or involving any of the children
  • Dates and particulars about any previous separations, attempts at reconciliation or marriage counseling
  • The name of your employer and your spouse's employer, including dates of employment, Social Security and driver's license numbers
  • Copies of your (single or joint) income tax returns for the last three years
  • Copies of your last three pay stubs (if you work outside the home)
  • Note your spouse's income and other household income. Name of bank, saving and checking accounts numbers, amounts and whose names are on the accounts
  • Stocks, bonds and other investment information
  • The value of a pension, whose name it is in and when contributions to the pension began
  • Note other valuable items such as jewelry, artwork and other collections
  • Purchase date, purchase price, remaining balances and current value of real estate holdings
  • List all debts including amount owed, to whom, account numbers, when they were incurred, when due and whose name they are in
  • Education and employment background of both parties
  • Names and ages of children
  • Note any "skeletons" that may be at issue, such as drug/alcohol abuse, if either party ever committed a crime, domestic abuse or sexual misconduct

Be Prepared To Ask Questions

Make a list so you don't forget to ask the things that really matter to you. The adage "There are no dumb questions" is true. You are not expected to understand all of the issues or legal terms, and your attorney will do her best to avoid complicated legal language.

But if you don't know the meaning of a legal term or understand any legal procedure, ask for clarification. You need to understand everything that is going on so that you can make the best decisions possible.

When you're ready to move ahead with a divorce, a parenting time (child custody) agreement or a child support matter, contact the Lakewood law office of Diane S. Freed, P.C., either online or by calling 303-500-8865. We are happy to assist you.