How to Prepare for Your Divorce Consultation
If you're considering divorce, it's a good idea to consult with an attorney to find out what your options are and how to protect your legal rights. However, you might be wondering what steps to take before the consultation to make sure your meeting is productive. Not only do you need to be emotionally prepared for the appointment—but you should take some time to get organized, think objectively about your goals, and consider what questions you want to ask the attorney.
Here are some tips on how to prepare so you can get the most out of your divorce consultation.
Write Down Your Questions
When facing divorce, you have a lot on your mind. While the attorney will explain the basics of the divorce process, you probably also have many questions about your case. You might want to ask: What is the average cost of a divorce in DuPage county? How is child custody determined? How can I avoid the stress of divorce with virtual divorce services? How will our bank accounts be divided?
Divorce can be overwhelming. It can be helpful to write down your questions so that you remember to ask them at the consultation. Asking questions can also help you gain a better understanding of what to expect in your case.
The more organized you are at the beginning of your divorce, the more smoothly the process will go. At your consultation, you're going to need to provide the attorney with basic information, such as when you were married, the ages of your children, and both spouses' incomes. You'll also be talking about finances, marital assets, and debts — it's important to have any documents concerning these issues readily available.
The attorney will need to review any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements you may have entered into to answer any questions you may have about your property rights. Additionally, bringing mortgage documents, tax returns, pay stubs, and bank statements to your consultation can provide the attorney with an accurate picture of your financial situation so they can develop a comprehensive strategy for your case.
Make a List of Your Property
Illinois is an equitable distribution state—this means that marital property is not distributed in half, but instead, in a way that the court deems fair. Separate property is not subject to division in a divorce and is yours to keep.
Making a list of assets and any property you own separately or jointly with your spouse, including real estate, cars, boats, jewelry, art, and even furniture can be a good starting point to discuss the issue of property distribution with the attorney.
Think About Your Divorce Goals
There are a number of ways you can divorce. It would be best if you thought about your goals so you can discuss your options at the consultation. While everyone should focus on getting through the divorce process with as little conflict as possible and putting their children's best interests first, there are a few different ways you can achieve these objectives.
You might consider settling your case amicably through mediation or learning more about collaborative divorce options. Using mediation and collaborative methods are not only cost-effective alternatives to litigation, but these processes can also ensure you're in control of your case rather than letting the court decide the outcome.
Put Your Children First
Divorce isn't easy for anyone involved—but it can be especially difficult for your children. When preparing for your divorce consultation, consider discussing with the attorney how you can put them first throughout the process.
You might want to ask the attorney how mediation may make divorce easier on your children. Divorcing as amicably as possible and avoiding a contentious custody dispute is one of the most important things you can do to help reduce the emotional impact of divorce on your children.
Learn How Birt Law Can Help
Erin Birt is an experienced DuPage divorce attorney and family law mediator dedicated to helping clients navigate the divorce process and find positive solutions for their family law matters. Contact us to learn more about virtual divorce options and our tailored divorce services.