At Dolci & Weiland, our family law and divorce lawyers offer initial consultations free of charge, which is to your benefit — if you know how to make the most of the opportunity. A complimentary divorce consultation gives you a chance to form expectations for your divorce and to learn what the consulting attorney has to offer. Bringing a few key documents can help you take full advantage of your consultation. The more information you provide your lawyer, the clearer an expectation they can give you for your case.
Below are six tips to help you make the most of your divorce consultation
Documentation of Income
During the divorce process, you will be required to proved documentation of your income. For the initial consultation, simply having the numbers at hand is more than sufficient, although having documents such as pay stubs and tax returns never hurt. Pay stubs reflect work bonuses, compensation, and other benefits you receive. These are all important factors when determining financial household contributions. A tax return, on the other hand, provides a comprehensive picture of your finances. With the right information, your consulting lawyer can draw a strong expectation of how your income will affect maintenance (alimony) and division of assets.
When determining how financial assets are split in a divorce, the court takes into account the financial situations of both spouses. Assets which are considered marital property are subject to be split in a divorce, while assets considered non-marital property are not.
For your initial consultation, all you need to bring is your and your spouse's recent bank statements, and a list of assets you each own. This information will allow your consulting lawyer to predict how the court may divide your financial assets in divorce.
Pension and Retirement Plans
The retirement funds and plans you receive from divorce will have a significant impact on your post-retirement life. Whether you or your spouse have a pension plan, an Individual Retirement Account, or a 401(k), the most recent statements from your retirement accounts can allow your lawyer to determine whether you will need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) for your divorce, and the amount of retirement benefits you can expect to receive.
Oftentimes in a divorce, who the house goes to can affect how your other assets get divided. For your consultation, it is helpful have on hand the value and equity of any real estate you or your spouse own. Having the mortgage statements, deeds, and documentation of your real estate can be beneficial, but just the value and equity of your real estate property is enough information to bring to your first consultation.
Legal Documents Related to Your Marriage and Family
These documents can include prenuptial agreements, birth certificates, identification information, and documents from legal proceedings involving any of your family members. These documents will allow the divorce lawyer to build a stronger understanding of your family dynamics and the familial aspects of your case. This is important, because while you want a lawyer who can get you the best divorce deal, you also want a lawyer who understands you, your family, and the difficult situation you are going through.
Create a List of Questions You May Have
A well-thought-out list of questions is perhaps the most important tool to help you decide whether a lawyer is a good fit for you. The documents you bring will help your divorce lawyer assess your case, but asking the right questions gives you a chance to assess your lawyer's experience and decide if they are the right lawyer for you. After all, you will be working extensively with your divorce lawyer for the duration of your divorce. The lawyer you choose to hire should be someone you trust to represent your and your family's best interests.
Contact the DuPage County Divorce Lawyers at Dolci & Weiland
With over 26 years of experience in practicing family law in DuPage County, the divorce attorneys at Dolci & Weiland have helped clients in a variety of different circumstances. We are here to provide top-tier legal representation and to help guide you through the divorce process. To speak to a lawyer or to schedule a free consultation, give us a call at (630) 261-9098.