What Should I Bring to a Divorce Consultation?
When you have made the decision to file for divorce — or you have at least made the decision to speak with an attorney about the possibility of filing for divorce—the next steps can feel daunting. For most residents of DuPage County, the first step is to schedule a consultation with a divorce lawyer. Once you have scheduled an initial consultation, you will likely be wondering what you need to bring with you when you meet with a divorce attorney for the first time. While preparing for a divorce consultation can feel intimidating, you should keep in mind that this consultation is for you so that you can get a sense of the attorney’s role in the process, whether you want to work with this particular divorce lawyer, and what major issues you are likely to face in your divorce.
The family law advocates at Farooqi & Husain Law Office have years of experience assisting members of the Muslim community in DuPage County with divorce. Recognizing the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) will govern your divorce proceedings, the following is a checklist to consider when preparing for your divorce consultation.
1. Financial Documents
The first and most important category of items to bring to any divorce consultation concerns your finances (and financial documents from the marriage). The divorce lawyer will want to have a sense of the complexity of dividing marital property, whether you will want to seek spousal maintenance (or should expect to pay spousal maintenance), and how the court is likely to handle child support if there are still minor children from your marriage or if you have children in college.
The following is a list of the financial documents you should bring with you to your divorce consultation:
- Recent tax returns (printouts work perfectly if you file online);
- Recent pay stubs (printouts are fine if you do not receive a hard copy);
- List of marital assets, including dates of purchase (if you remember), price of purchase (if you know that information), and any recent valuations;
- List of marital debts, including dates the debts were incurred; and
- List of separate or non-marital assets and debts, including the dates acquired or incurred.
2. Legal Documents
The next category of materials you should bring with you to your divorce consultation concerns legal documents. You will want to bring evidence of any legal agreements into which you have entered with your spouse, as well as documents concerning children from the marriage. The following is a list of legal documents to bring to your divorce consultation:
- Premarital agreement (whether you developed the premarital agreement under Illinois law or under the laws of another state);
- Postnuptial agreement;
- Separation agreement;
- Documents concerning any legal proceedings that involve you, your spouse, and/or your children;
- Identifying information (such as passports and Social Security cards) for yourself, your spouse, and your children; and
- Children’s birth certificates.
Keep in mind that you may not have any of these documents, or you may only have some of them. Bring what you do have from the list above.
3. Your Questions
Last but not least, be sure to make a list of questions that you want to ask. You can write down a list of questions on paper, or you can make a digital list on your tablet or smartphone. No matter how you make your list, be sure to jot down each and every question you have. A thorough divorce attorney will be willing to address your questions, from financial inquiries to the divorce process more generally. Some examples of questions you might ask:
- How long is my divorce likely to take?
- Should I seek alimony?
- Should I expect to pay alimony?
- How much will my divorce cost?
- How will I be expected to contribute to child support?
- Will college expenses for our children be included in the divorce?
- What is a parenting plan, and how will I make one if my spouse will not agree?
- How much experience do you have handling divorce cases like mine?
Contact an Oakbrook Terrace Divorce Attorney
If you are considering divorce, you should schedule a consultation with a skilled DuPage County divorce attorney as soon as possible. A family law advocate at our firm can speak with you today. Contact Farooqi & Husain Law Office by calling 630-909-9114 for more information about the services we provide to individuals and families in Illinois.