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Preparing for Your Initial Divorce Consultation

family lawyer phoenix

How can I prepare for my initial consultation with an attorney?

At Modern Law, it’s easy to schedule your initial divorce consultation right from your desktop or phone. Understandably, our potential clients would like to know how to make the most out of that time and walk away from the consultation with information, answers to their questions, and a clear strategy for moving forward.

Perhaps even more important is that the firm be a good fit for your needs. Notice here I said firm and not just the attorney. The firm is the team that will be working on your case. At Modern Law, this includes your team of attorneys, paralegals, law clerks and billing department. You want to make sure you are comfortable with the firm by the time you are done with your initial consultation.

With that being said, we can jump into the details.

What should I bring?

 There are a number of preliminary matters that your attorney will want to know about you and your case during your initial divorce consultation:

  • Is there an existing case number?
  • Are there any pending hearings scheduled with the court?
  • If you have a decree or order already in place, please bring a copy with you.
  • Is the opposing party represented? If so, by whom, and how have they treated you so far.
  • Is this a IV-D case (meaning the state has an interest in the child support case)?
  • Your questions. We suggest you write down any questions that you have in advance. That way, we can make sure to get to all of your questions and address all of your concerns.

What do we need to know?

What are the current issues you are facing? Who are the players? For instance, is the new wife a major problem for your children? How old are the children and how do they feel about the situation? We really want to understand the dynamics and background of what has been going on with your family. Tell us your story. We want to understand what keeps you up at night and what your primary objectives are. What is the ideal outcome? How do you picture yourself a year from now? Where do you live? Where do you work? What is the schedule you have with your children?

Payment Considerations?

Do you have special payment terms or parameters that you are looking for? We try to accommodate a variety of needs and budgets. By having an idea in advance of your budget or budget parameters, we can best design a solution that fits your needs. For instance, if your grandmother is giving you the money, but she will give it to you over a three-month period of time, let us know. We can design a system to meet your needs. Do you have deadlines that must be met that have not already been addressed?

Other Questions that May Be Relevant

  • Is there any history of abuse or addiction between the parties or children?
  • Are there any special needs of the children?
  • Are there any concerns about extended family members or significant others?
  • What are the retirement assets?
  • Do you own property together including houses or land? If so, when was it purchased and with what funds?
  • Did either of you bring money or property into the marriage?
  • Did anyone inherit money during the marriage?
  • Does anyone struggle with addiction?
  • Has anyone spent money behind the others back on things like gambling, affairs, or prostitutes?
  • Is there anything significant going on in your sex life? (I know this seems personal, but in one recent case, we found out the marriage had never been consummated due to impotence. We were able to secure an annulment instead of divorce for our client.)
  • Is there a history of mental illness with either party?
  • Does one party control all of the finances or any other aspect of the relationship?
  • Are there religious differences or disagreements between the parties?
  • Is one party dependent on financial support from the other?
  • How long have you been married or separated?
  • Does either party want to move?
  • Has everyone lived in Arizona for the last 90 days? Have the children lived in Arizona for six months?
  • Do you own any property out of state?
  • Do either of you own any interests in any businesses?
  • Do you know of all of the accounts or financials institutions? Will you have access to the user name and passwords and print the statements?
  • Does anyone have any life insurance policies or stocks/bonds?
  • Has anyone been charged with any crimes?
  • Is there a pre-nup or post nup?
  • Is there student loan debt and was it used for living expenses?
  • Are there any pending lawsuits? Has anyone suffered an injury in the last two years that could give rise to a lawsuit?

This is by no means an exhaustive list of potential issues. It should give you an idea of issues that may be relevant to your case. While we certainly won’t get through your entire life story in our initial consultation, my hope is that it is as informative, helpful and productive as possible. We are really looking forward to working with you on your initial divorce consultation.

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