Many people ask us how to prepare for a first meeting with a divorce attorney. In this video episode of our WPHK Office Hours series, Attorneys Philip Hundl and Tony Ramirez talk about some of the things you should think about before you meet first meet with a divorce lawyer. Call or text 800-929-1725 for an appointment. Our meetings are in-person, online or by phone. Mr. Ramirez is no longer with the Firm.
Summary of Preparing for a First Meeting with a Divorce Attorney
Today, I’d like to talk to Tony about a frequently asked question that clients have who are seeking family law advice. So Tony, when there’s a prospective client, who is considering divorce, how should that person prepare for a first meeting with a divorce attorney?
Can the Issues in the Marriage be Resolved through Counseling?
[Tony Ramirez] So, one of the first things they should think about is whether or not they should try to resolve this through counseling. Perhaps they’ll be able to identify some of the issues that are causing disruption within the marital relationship.
It also might allow them to figure out whether or not there’s any type of reconciliation that might come through counseling. That’s the main consideration that individuals who are seeking counseling related to divorce need to consider.
What Are the Assets and Debts of the Marital Estate?
Another thing to think about in preparing for a first meeting with a divorce attorney is what type of assets and debts are involved in the marital estate. Sometimes clients don’t handle financials of the family. Those clients must still be helped to understand what are the assets and debts the marital estate.
Will the Divorce be Based on Irreconcilable Differences?
[Philip Hundl] So I guess the couple should take a hard look at whether the differences they have are reconcilable. That’s one of the legal terms used when you prove up a divorce in front of the judge in court. Are there irreconcilable differences in the marriage? Has the marriage has gotten past the point where they won’t be able to continue married?
Preparation for the First Meeting with a Divorce Attorney Should Include Gathering Financial Information
Once they make a decision and plan on coming in to see you, that’s when it’s a good idea for them to get a handle on the assets of the marriage? What are the debts of the marriage?
I know oftentimes you’ll have folks come in, and maybe they’re just not the one who really kept up with the finances of the marriage of the couple. So it’s a struggle for them to really know what assets they do or don’t have and what debts.
That becomes a challenge in litigation to conduct discovery to find out things that maybe they could have already found out during the marriage. Perhaps the client could prepare for that first meeting with a divorce attorney by gathering that information in the last weeks or months. The preparation could happen when there’s going to be a separation or one of them will go see a lawyer and file for divorce. That financial information that’s helpful for you will be what kind of things?
[Tony Ramirez] Bank statements for the couple’s bank accounts are important. If we’re talking about any type of business entities, then accounts related to those entities. Really it’s just the entire financial aspect of what comes in and what goes out of the marital estate.
So any type of account statements related to assets are what we’re going to be looking for. Frankly this financial information will be required to be provided to both parties. So that’s a big consideration.
The Court Will Require Disclosure of Assets
[Philip Hundl] I believe in a lot of counties and a lot of courts, the judges are requiring that both parties bring almost like a balance sheet of the marriage to disclose all those things. So there’s not a lot of hiding the ball.
This financial information helps the courts calculate child support. The court will want to know how much is that person is earning. Probably a pay stub is something they require.
[Tony Ramirez] It’s usually a pay stub. Usually W2’s that show wages and earnings for a year or two years might be needed depending on what’s required by the courts. But pay stubs and W2 are usually what’s going to be required.
I feel the experience was very good. Thanks for all the help with my divorce.
Kevin K.GatherUp Review
[Philip Hundl] Tony, this has been very helpful. I appreciate you sharing this with our prospective clients out there. Perhaps you’re someone who wants to get to know a little bit more about what the process would look like for you. Hopefully this video will be helpful for people in doing some of their pre-divorce planning.
Tony, I appreciate it. Look for us for in another segment of WPHK Office Hours. So stay tuned for the next one. Thanks.
Schedule a First Meeting with a Divorce Attorney
We have offices in Wharton County, Fort Bend County and Matagorda County. Our appointments can be online, in-person or by phone. Call or text 800-929-1725 for an appointment. You can also click the button below to schedule an appointment.