Your Initial Consultation

If you have reached the point where you are considering contacting a family law attorney, you are probably undergoing an emotional and stressful time in your life. Though it can be difficult, it's important to do your best to separate your emotions from the facts. This is important, because the family court will take a rational and business-like approach to your case.

Part of a family law attorney's job is to counsel you on issues that are or may be relevant to your case and to help you approach your situation with reason rather than emotion. Many people are surprised by what they learn during an initial consultation because they don't anticipate all the factors that may affect the likelihood of achieving a successful outcome. How could they? An experienced attorney is trained to apply the law to your particular situation and to work with you to get the best results possible.

What Do I Need To Bring To An Initial Consultation?

Prior to an initial consultation, it's wise to create a list or a timetable of the events that caused you to turn to a lawyer. During this discussion, you may have to address several upsetting issues. When doing so, it is important for you to be forthcoming and honest. If your attorney doesn't know all of the facts, he or she can't be as effective as possible.

Give your attorney a head start on the discovery process by preparing for your initial consultation. Gather as much factual information as possible. Remember, all communication with your attorney is privileged and protected by the attorney and client relationship.

This is a lengthy list, but it's important to do your best to gather information related to:

  1. Copies of your marriage and birth certificates.
  2. Date of marriage and timeline of events in marriage.
  3. Information about any prior marriage of either spouse, including a certified copy of the divorce decree.
  4. A copy of any domestic contracts (e.g., a prenuptial agreement).
  5. Information about any previous legal proceedings between the spouses or involving any of the children.
  6. Dates and particulars about any previous separations, attempts at reconciliation, or marriage counseling.
  7. The name of your employer and your spouse's employer, including dates of employment.
  8. Social security and driver's license numbers.
  9. Copies of your (single or joint) income tax returns for the last three years.
  10. Copies of your last three pay stubs (if you work outside the home).
  11. Note your spouse's income and other household income.
  12. Name of bank, saving and checking accounts numbers, amounts and whose names are on the accounts.
  13. Stocks, bonds and other investment information.
  14. The value of a pension, whose name it is in and when they began to contribute to the pension.
  15. Note other valuable items such as jewelry, artwork and other collections.
  16. Purchase date, purchase price, remaining balances and current value of real estate holdings.
  17. List all debts including amount owed, to whom, account numbers, when they were incurred, when due and whose name they are in.
  18. Education and employment background of both parties.
  19. Names and ages of children.
  20. Note any "skeletons" that may be at issue, such as drug/alcohol abuse, if either party ever committed a crime, domestic abuse, or sexual misconduct.

Being Prepared Can Make All The Difference

Remember, it is very important that you are honest with your attorney so that he or she can provide the best possible legal advice and representation.

In addition to providing the information referenced above, it's also important to come to a first consultation with a list of your questions. In this case, the adage, "There are no dumb questions," certainly rings true. Your attorney does not expect you to understand all of the issues or legal terms and will therefore do his or her best to avoid complicated legal language. If you don't know the meaning of a legal term or any legal procedure, ask for clarification. You need to understand everything that is going on so you can make the best decisions possible.

To schedule your initial consultation to discuss your family law issue, call 610-879-8473 or contact the law office of Deborah Zitomer Esquire, LLC. We offer initial consultations for a flat fee of $275.00.