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How to Prepare for a Divorce Consultation: A Client's Guide

Posted by Sean A. Black | Jul 30, 2013 | 0 Comments

Georgia is a no fault divorce state.  That means that if you want a divorce, you will be granted a divorce.  It is not unusual for me to have clients and prospective clients tell me that their spouse won't agree to the divorce. The good news is that it is not their decision.  The bad news is that disentangling yourself from a marriage and protecting your interests can be hard.  That is why you need a good Georgia divorce lawyer to help you make your way through the process.  That is why you have made an appointment for a consultation.  Your lawyer should be prepared to answer your questions and anticipate your concerns, but you need to be ready with the information necessary to answer those questions.

For the initial consultation, it is not necessary to bring all of your financial records, but there are things that you need to have.

You need to have the full legal name of your spouse, the date and place of marriage, the dates of birth of any children and their full legal names.

You should have some information about your annual income and that of your spouse along with any information about any changes in income, brought about by changes in employment, retirement, disability, business changes, etc.

You need to have information about any property you believe to be marital property.  This includes houses, land, businesses, financial accounts, vehicles, recreational vehicles, equipment, collectibles, etc.  You should have at least an opinion as to the current values of these items as well as the amounts of any loans against such property.

You need to have information about any debts owed by you, your spouse or both, including credit card accounts, store accounts, student loans, vehicle loans, etc.

If there is any type of agreement between your spouse and you regarding the marriage, separation or divorce, you need to bring a copy of the agreement.

If you and your spouse are parents of minor children, your lawyer will need other information regarding any social security benefits received for the children, health insurance premiums for the children, any other insurance premiums for coverage to the children, information on the costs and frequency of child care expenses, and costs of any extraordinary educational, health care, or extracurricular activities for the children.

It is helpful to have copies of your and your spouse's last three years of federal and state income tax returns.

You will also need to bring any available information on any retirement accounts covering you or your spouse including current value, type of plan, administrator of the plan, and any loans outstanding against the account and the terms of repayment.  If you or your spouse is already of retirement age, you should bring records reflecting the benefits being paid.

In cases involving children, you should be prepared to discuss the current and past allocation of child care responsibilities and any special needs of a child.

If there has been alleged criminal conduct or abusive behavior which has resulted in law enforcement or court intervention, you should have copies of any incident reports, warrants, dispositions, temporary restraining orders, etc.  At the least, you should have the necessary information to allow the attorney to obtain such documents, such as dates and locations of events and agencies involved.

You should also prepare a list of questions that you need answers to from the attorney.  A written list lessens the chance that you leave the consultation and realize that there were questions that you needed answers to that were not answered.

Finally, if your case involves allegations of fault on either side, you should bring any documentation of misbehavior with you.

If you are female and took your spouse's name at marriage, you should have considered whether you will be asking the court to return you to your prior name or your maiden name.

Sean A. Black of Black Law Offices has assisted many people with Georgia divorces and family law matters including child custody, child visitation, child support, legitimation, paternity, and name changes.  We are ready to assist you in dealing with these difficult issues.

About the Author

Sean A. Black

Sean A. Black is a 1992 graduate of the Emory University School of Law. He has been in private practice in Toccoa, Georgia since June 1, 1992.

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