How to Prepare for an Initial Consultation with a Divorce Lawyer?
In most cases, a divorce causes high levels of anxiety. One way to ease stress is by hiring a divorce lawyer that has your best interests in mind.
Luckily, at Dick Byl Law you can schedule a free 30 minute consultation before hiring our lawyer, to determine your best options. To ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible, you need to be prepared to ask the right questions and have certain information available for your lawyer.
Read on to learn how to prepare and what to expect during a consultation with a divorce lawyer.
Prepare with Questions
For your consultation, you should come up with a list of questions to ask the attorney. As a general rule of thumb, you should ask about their professional experience, education, and licensing.
If you were the person served with divorce papers, this is something you'll want to bring to the consultation, along with your list of questions. The more information you know about your lawyer and vice versa, the better.
Bring the Correct Documents
Before getting involved in the court system, your lawyer needs to have certain documents.
Here's what you'll need to bring to the consultation:
- Identification: 2 pieces of ID – one has to be government issued, (BCID or BCDL) and the other one has to have the same name and address or a picture of you.
- Marriage License: An original Marriage License is required to open a Family Law Case.
- Dates: We will also need to know the if and when you started living together prior to Marriage and the date of Separation.
- Filed Documents: Any Separation Agreement or Documents that have been filed in a court in reference to separation, parenting time, support or divorce.
- Tax Returns: A lawyer needs to look into your financial situation to decide how to go about the divorce process. You'll find this especially true if you and your spouse did not file joint returns.
- Pay Stubs: You should have at least the past three months of pay stubs. This will help an attorney get the bigger picture of your finances so that they can estimate alimony.
- A list of assets: Your lawyer will want to know what assets you have that would be included in the divorce settlement. These would include your family home and other real estate holdings, business interests, insurance policies, RRSP’s, TFSA’s and pensions etc. Documents with identification details and showing a reasonable valuation of each asset.
- Children’s Info: If there are children involved then you’ll need the full names, birthdates, grade in school, where they reside and details of special needs or expenses they may have.
- Funds: A cheque or bank draft to cover the retainer fee discussed.
Sign the Agreement
When you hire legal services, you will have to sign a contract detailing the expectations of the process. For example, you'll sign a retainer agreement explaining the costs, bill procedures, and who will work on the case.
A divorce attorney might have associates and paralegals that will file documents or research your case further.
After signing the contract at the consultation, you can schedule the first meeting with your lawyer. What happens during the next phases of the process will depend on your specific situation.
Preparing for Your Consultation the Right Way
With this guide, you will be fully prepared and ready for your consultation. At Dick Byl Law, one of our main focuses is family law. Contact us today to request an ‘Intake Spreadsheet’ or to schedule a consultation. We can help you with the divorce process.