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How to prepare for an initial consultation with a divorce lawyer

The media reports that the pandemic has seen a rise in the number of couples seeking advice from divorce lawyers regarding their marriage. Many reports state this is due to economic pressures, spending too much time together at home in a confined space or perhaps the over consumption of alcohol which has been prevalent in many homes.

An initial consultation with a divorce lawyer is often seen as a daunting prospect which can add to the already distressing situation. During one meeting I have had with an initial client, I was told that they would prefer to have had a filling at the dentist! Happily however, I am pleased to report that the client in question felt far better, relieved and reassured by the end of our meeting.

It is important to remember that your divorce lawyer is there to help and guide you. They will explore the reason for the consultation with you and whether or not it is possible to explore ways in which your marriage could be saved through marriage counselling/therapy or mediation.

If you require advice regarding separation and/or divorce, then they will go through the process and options with you. Your divorce lawyer will explain that divorce is almost always carried out in the most amicable and cost effective manner as possible.

Your lawyer will also discuss any additional issues with you relevant to your case including arrangements for care of your children and financial issues. Advice regarding financial issues usually involves both interim financial arrangements (such as child maintenance issues, who will pay the mortgage and bills?, are you both going to remain in the family home or will you separate pending a final resolution?) and future financial arrangements (ie the division of the matrimonial assets).

5 things to bring to your initial consultation with your divorce lawyer

To ensure you get the most out of your initial meeting with your lawyer both in terms of knowledge and value for money, I would suggest that you do the following:-

  1. Prepare a chronology of the history of your marriage/relationship. Start with the date that your met your husband/partner and end at the date of the meeting. Include all relevant details including the date you commenced cohabitation, the date that you were married, the dates that any children were born and the dates of all relevant financial transactions such as property purchases and sales (with full details), gifts or inheritances received.
  2. In the event that you do wish to separate, think about what routine of care would work for the children going forward. Thinking about this in advance would enable your lawyer to discuss this with you at the meeting and give you advice upon the same.
  3. Prepare a simple summary of your financial information with details of all assets and their current valuations and details of your income and your spouse’s/partner’s income. It is not necessary at this stage to bring documentary evidence – a one page document is usually sufficient.
  4. Bring any relevant documents with you (for example if you have received a letter from your spouse’s/partner’s solicitor).
  5. Prepare a list of questions that you would like your lawyer to answer for you. Your lawyer will usually answer these at the end as you are likely to find that most of them will be covered during the meeting. However, don’t be afraid to ask anything that is not on the list.

Preparing these documents in advance will ensure a productive initial meeting during which your lawyer can give you specific advice regarding your circumstances and provide advice regarding the next steps.

Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors have a number of specialist family divorce lawyers with a great deal of experience to deal with all elements of a relationship breakdown and divorce. If you would like to speak with one of our experts please call 0808 252 5231 or request a call back online.