Before you meet with an attorney for the first time to discuss your divorce or the possibility of a divorce, you should prepare for the meeting in advance to maximize your time with the attorney.  Here are five tips to help you prepare for that initial meeting:

  1. Gather your income information, including your most recently filed tax return and your current pay stub.  If you can, be prepared to discuss your spouse’s income information.  A good source for that may be your checking account statements where wages are often deposited.
  2. Create a list to the best of your ability of all assets and liabilities existing today, that were acquired since your marriage.  It doesn’t matter whose name the assets and liabilities are titled in.  Estimate as best you can the current value for each asset and liability.  It is even better if you also gather the recent account statements to back up each asset and liability on your list.  If you do not have access to this material, that will not be a problem and note that you will not be the first person without access to family financial records.
  3. If you decide to move forward with a divorce, change the passwords for your individual accounts and devices, including the passwords for your personal email, social media, online bank accounts and financial accounts in your name alone and the passwords for your cell phone, your tablet and your personal laptop.  This will ensure your privacy going forward as you navigate a divorce or potential divorce.
  4. If you are meeting with the attorney by phone or video, plan to be in a quiet, private place so you can talk about highly sensitive information without anyone overhearing the conversation.
  5. Create a list of questions that you have in advance that you can address during your meeting.  Ideally, try to send the questions to the attorney in advance, realizing that your prospective attorney probably has done lots of similar interviews.  During the meeting, make sure that you refer to your list of questions to make sure you covered everything and take notes when the attorney answers your questions or provides substantive information about your case so you can reference those notes later.