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How to prepare for an initial consultation

Meeting with a divorce attorney for the first time could be a very awkward and emotional experience. After all, you are essentially in uncharted territory. It is hard to know what to expect, and you may be unsure that you want to hire the person you are scheduled to meet with. Nevertheless, initial consultations can be very important in shaping your goals, healing emotionally and setting appropriate expectations.

This post will give some helpful pointers on what to prepare for (and expect) in an initial consultation.

Be prepared to discuss your assets and debts - It is important to have a working understanding of your bank accounts, retirement funds, and cars, as well as mortgages, student loans and credit card debts. This will enable the lawyer to get a basic idea of your situation and identify any glaring legal issues.

Be in a reasonable emotional state - It is okay to be angry or depressed. Divorce brings with it a range of emotions, so it is normal to vent about what went wrong (or how you have been violated). However, it is helpful to understand that a consultation is not necessarily a therapy appointment, and that you are seeking basic legal advice.

Be prepared to discuss income - Having a working knowledge of your income (as well as your spouse's) will help in determining whether spousal maintenance will be an issue. It will also help in forecasting each party's ability to litigate any issues that cannot be resolved amicably.

Begin to think about goals - Lastly, it is helpful to have an idea of what you want out of the divorce, especially in regards to legal and physical custody if children are involved.

Source: HuffingtonPost.com, Making the most of your consultation with a divorce lawyer, March 19, 2013

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