How Do I Prepare for My Initial Divorce Consultation?

If you no longer want to remain married to your spouse – or are even entertaining the idea – your best first step is to speak with a divorce attorney. No self-directed divorce website can substitute for experienced legal counsel that considers your specific circumstances. Every marriage is different. Every divorce is, too.

At the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr. LLC, we take the time to fully understand the goals and needs of our clients, providing them with the best possible advice tailored to their individual needs. This personalized focus begins at the initial consultation.

To reap the most benefit from that first meeting with your divorce lawyer, you should bring documents, information, and questions.

Gather Financial Records

Having all your financial records (bank statements, stock accounts, retirement funds) at this initial meeting is not critical. However, any financial information you can give your attorney provides a snapshot of your fiscal situation. They can begin to see how your income and debt will shape such issues as equitable distribution, child support, and spousal support.

If you are half of a high-net-worth couple, financial details are important in uncovering potential hiding or dissipating assets.

Other information your attorney will need includes the following:

  • Names
  • Addresses/Phone Numbers
  • Employers
  • Social Security Numbers

A full financial accounting will be part of the financial discovery phase of the divorce.

Outline Your Goals

The best strategies in your divorce case are directed by your goals beyond ending the marriage. Do you want to go back to school? Do you want to start your own business? How important is staying in the family home? Do you need protection from an abusive spouse? Will you want sole or joint custody? How would you want marital property divided?

Before you meet with your lawyer, take some time to reflect on what you need and want before, during, and after the divorce.

Write Down Your Questions

Chances are that you have a thousand questions related to your divorce. That’s common. What is also common is forgetting to ask some of those burning questions at the first meeting. Our attorneys at the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC will walk you through New York divorce law, including child custody and support, spousal maintenance and support, equitable division of property and debt, and other terms included in a divorce settlement. Having your list of questions will ensure that your critical issues are addressed.

Basic questions many clients ask include the following:

  • How long will the divorce take?
  • Will I have to go to court?
  • How is child custody decided?
  • Can I get temporary child custody and support during the divorce?
  • Can I keep the house/car/vacation house/country club membership/etc.?
  • What’s the cost of a divorce?
  • Will I have to pay my spouse’s attorney fees?
  • What debt will I be responsible for?
  • Should I move out of the house during the divorce?
  • Am I eligible for spousal support?
  • Who is my point of contact at the law firm?

You can also expect to be asked questions:

  • When did you get married?
  • Do you have a prenuptial agreement?
  • How many children do you have? Their ages?
  • Do your children have any special needs?
  • Where do you currently live? Where does your spouse live?
  • What is your income? Your spouse’s?

Determine if the Attorney Is the Right Fit

A significant objective of the initial consultation is to determine whether the attorney and the firm are the right fit for you. The attorney’s body language, the kinds of questions they ask, and how they treat you are all signs of whether you will be comfortable working with them. Make sure you feel heard and understood.

If your New York marriage is heading toward divorce, schedule your consultation with us by calling (845) 605-4330.

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