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How to Prepare for the First Meeting with a Family Law Attorney

 

A gavel against a black background.

Get ready for your first meeting with your family law attorney. This is the time when you can really make a difference in your case. By providing your attorney with the following information you will save yourself a lot of time and money.

Meeting with a Family Law Attorney

Before you meet with your family law attorney, be sure to have all of the following information for yourself and your spouse:

✔️ Full Name

✔️ Address

✔️ Telephone numbers

✔️ Place of employment

✔️ Address of employment

✔️ Date of birth

✔️ Driver’s license number

✔️ Social security number

✔️ Date and place of marriage

✔️ Children’s full name, sex, and dates of birth

In addition to the above information, you’ll also want to provide your legal team with additional information including, a narrative of your marriage, financial information, and key documents. To help you prepare, we provide some guidance on what your family law attorney might want to see. 

Narrative of Your Marriage

Your family law attorney will want to see a narrative of your marriage in order to keep the interview focused.

In your narrative, describe yourself, your spouse, history together, your children, past, and current marital problems. Give a basic outline or description of your parenting style and the care of your children. Share what issues you think will arise during the divorce process. 

Additional things to consider when providing your marriage narrative:

✔️ Special circumstances in your marriage

✔️ Expectations for children’s education

✔️ Special needs of anyone in the home

✔️ Plans for family pets

This list is not all-inclusive. Take time to brainstorm your marriage narrative before meeting with your family law attorney. This will save you time and help ensure you don’t miss anything important. 

Financial Information

This should include ALL assets and liabilities.

In high asset and complex divorce, you may need the expertise of a forensic accountant or another specialist to evaluate your estate.

Your family law attorney will want the name, address, and telephone number of your accountant or bookkeeper.

If you have completed a financial statement for a bank or mortgage company, bring it along with you.

Financial Affidavit

If you do not have a current financial statement, consider completing a financial affidavit. Pursuant to Florida Family Law Rule 12.285, a financial affidavit is required in virtually every family law case. There is a short form and a long-form.

A stack of legal financial documents prepared for review by a family law attorney.

Since you’re going to have to do it sooner or later, it’s a good idea to complete the affidavit and bring it to your first appointment. You’ll be ahead of the process.

In addition to your financial affidavit, you will also be asked to share the following information for both yourself and your spouse (if possible). 

Basic Assets

✔️ Cash

✔️ Bank accounts and numbers – savings and checking

✔️ IRAs, 401K, pension funds, or the like

✔️ Real estate and location of deeds

✔️ Automobiles

✔️ Boats or other vehicles

✔️ Jewelry

✔️ Art and antiques

✔️ Household furnishing

✔️ Tools

✔️ Other assets of significant value

Liabilities

✔️ Detail your debts

✔️ Credit cards

✔️ Mortgages

✔️ Personal loans or promissory notes

A family law attorney reviews documentation for their client.

There are certain documents your legal team will need in order to vigorously represent you throughout the divorce process. Be sure to bring all of the following documents for yourself and your spouse:

✔️ Last two year’s tax returns

✔️ Mortgage statements

✔️ Real estate tax statement

✔️ Pay stubs

✔️ Marriage certificate

✔️ Credit reports

✔️ Bring a list of your monthly living expenses.

✔️ Provide the location of any relevant documents you don’t personally possess. 

In addition to the above, if you or your spouse own businesses, an accountant may be necessary. If you’re self-employed and you don’t have a bookkeeper, gather what records you have.

Final Thoughts

After you’ve gathered everything on this list, you’ll also want to prepare a list of questions for your family law attorney. It would also be wise to reach out to your attorney in advance of the first meeting to request their intake sheet. This will help ensure you are fully prepared. 

Remember that you don’t want to withhold any information, including any assets, from your family law attorney. 

 

A bronze statue of justice.

If you’re contemplating an uncoupling, we at the law firm of Brodie Friedman are here to answer any questions you have regarding your family, the law, and the rights of children in divorce. We are an experienced team of professionals that can help you protect your children.

 

 

 

With over 30 years of combined experience, Jason Brodie Esq. and Joshua Friedman Esq. will guide you toward realistic goals and provide committed advocacy toward achieving them. They are known throughout South Florida for dedicated client service, tenacity, and success in complex divorce litigation involving property division, child custody, and spousal support. 

To get a better understanding of the qualities our reputation is built on, contact our office in Boca Raton to schedule your initial phone consultation (561) 392-5100

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