Divorce can be an extremely stressful time for the parties involved that can take a large financial, emotional, and physical toll. There are many things that can complicate a divorce, including whether or not you signed a prenuptial agreement, the custody of children if there are any present in the situation and the issues that come with child support. Finding the right divorce lawyer to guide you through this difficult time and fight for your property, children, and what you deserve, is essential to the process of a divorce. The Law Office of Frederic E. Waczewski, P.A. is a top Orlando personal injury lawyer and divorce attorney with over a decade of experience dealing with divorce law. Call us today to schedule the first step in your divorce process with a free initial consultation.
The First Meeting
There are several categories of people who are going to a divorce lawyer for their first meeting. One category we at the Law Office of Frederic E. Waczewski, P.A. often encounter are clients who are unhappy in their marriage, are relatively uninformed about the divorce process, and wish to consult and inform themselves regarding divorce in order to make educated decisions on whether to preserve or end their marriage. This type of client tends to not be sure about whether or not they are really going through with the divorce, they just want to figure out what their options are. The second category of client that we often encounter are those who have definitively made the decision to terminate their marriage and are now meeting with a divorce lawyer for the first time in order to file a divorce. This type of client has gone through a lot of the emotional pain that can come with a divorce, has given it a lot of thought, and is now ready to go through with the legal processes.
The third category of client we often encounter are those who are on the other side of the table- their spouse has filed a divorce against them, and they now need a lawyer to help protect their rights and property. These clients may have been served with a citation, which is an official document from the court that informs the party in question that have been sued for a divorce, and gives them a specific time to respond to the court or ordering them to appear in court on a specific date. Alternatively, their spouse’s attorney may have sent them a letter asking them to secure an attorney to go through with the divorce and that if they refuse to do s, they will be served with a citation. This this type of situation, the client needs to respond.
What You Should Prepare When Meeting With Your Divorce Attorney For The First Time
Prior to meeting with your divorce lawyer for the initial consultation, you should remember the 4 Ps: Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. This motto is a good guideline for the entire divorce process and you should keep this in mind. Firstly, before meeting with your divorce lawyer, you should try and have two documents prepared if at all possible. One document will be simple biographical information- what your full name, address, phone numbers, place of employment, address of employment, date of birth, your driver’s license number, your social security number, the same information listed above of your spouse, your date of marriage, and your children’s full names, sex, and dates of birth (if you share or have children).
The second document you should have prepared for your meeting with your lawyer is a narrative of your marriage. This narrative needs to describe yourself, your spouse, the history that you share together, any past marital problems the two of you have gone through as well as the current marital problems you’re going through, your children if there are any shared or if you have any, your strengths and weaknesses, and the strengths and weaknesses of your spouse. This narrative should let the attorney know what issues you think are going to be brought up in the divorce. The length of your narrative tends to depend on which of the three above mentioned categories you fit into. If you are only looking for basic divorce information as you assess your marriage and consider divorce, a page or two will be enough. This narrative will require much more detailed if you have made the decision to file for divorce, or if your spouse has filed a divorce against you- generally around three to 10 pages.
The Law Office of Frederic E. Waczewski, P.A., a top Orlando personal injury lawyer and divorce attorney recommends that you should bring another group of items to your initial meeting. This is the financial information of you and your partner. It is necessary for your divorce attorney to have a thorough knowledge of your assets and liabilities. For example, if you, your spouse, or the both of you together have recently completed a financial statement for a bank or mortgage company, you should bring it to your first meeting. If you have not completed any recent financial statements, you should sketch out for the attorney what your basic assets are- cash, checking accounts, savings accounts, IRAs, 401K, pension funds, houses and real estate, automobiles, and any other assets of yours that hold significant value. The financial report you turn into your lawyer should also detail any debts, credit cards, and mortgages etc. Make sure to bring a list of your monthly living expenses as well as your last two year’s tax returns, and year-to-date pay stubs for you and your spouse. The more detailed information you can provide to your attorney, and the sooner, the faster the process will be and it will also cut the cost significantly.
What Happens In The First Meeting
It is important that you find an attorney with whom you are able to carry on a good working relationship, as you will end up spending a lot of time together. Moreover, you will need an attorney who can clearly communicate your rights, responsibilities, and options, as you will be making some major life decisions as you go through your divorce. The Law Office of Frederic E. Waczewski, P.A. has had over a decade of experience in divorce law and can assist you in asserting your rights through the process.
What ends up occuring in the first meeting with your divorce lawyer is highly dependent on the status of the divorce, as discussed above. In some cases that we deal with, divorce papers have already been filed, while in other cases, the spouses in question have already discussed the divorce and pledged to utilize a collaborative divorce process so that they do not have to litigate (meaning fighting it out in court). There are also clients who are facing difficult emergency situations, such as a spouse that is draining bank accounts in anticipation of the divorce, or are the victim of domestic violence and require immediate court-ordered protection. What the client’s circumstances are will dictate what is discussed and what actions need to occur next following the first meeting. Generally, when a client comes in with broader questions regarding and impending or recently-filed divorce, most lawyers will review the various divorce options that are available to the client (collaborative law, mediation, and litigation), and then describe the steps that will be taken for each. At the Law Office of Frederick E. Waczewski, P.A., we will ask a lot of questions in order to learn as much as possible about the client’s spouse and children (if any) so we can provide the best options for your situation and attain a good understanding of the financial and psychological situation the client is in, and make referrals to psychotherapists, divorce coaches, estate attorneys, and/or financial planners for specialized advice if needed.
While it is impossible to predict everything that will come up in a divorce, it is important for your divorce lawyer to address all the major issues that can end up coming up in court and affecting your divorce. These issues include but are not limited to the custody of any minor children involved in the relationship, various possibilities regarding child support for both parties, the possibility of alimony (whether it should be paid to the party in question and if it should be paid, then how much and for what period of time, as well as any other rules and limitations surrounding the payments), and the division of property and debts. Typically following the completion of their first meeting with a divorce lawyer, clients will receive a certain amount of “homework” assigned by their attorney that will ask them to learn about and delineate as much as possible regarding the finances of the couple in questions.
As described above, this is why it is important to bring a complete list of your finances in terms of assets, liabilities, and ongoing expenses to your first meeting in order to save both you and your lawyer time. If you come prepared to the first meeting, your lawyer will have a more complete picture of the situation that you and your current spouse are in, and will be able to better assess how to guide you through the divorce process and figure out what options are the right ones for you. In many marriages, only one spouse is in charge of all or the majority of the couple’s finances. However, in order for a divorce to be resolved, it is essential for both spouses to have a complete understanding of the couple’s financial situation, including the couple’s incomes, assets, and debts. This is why we highly recommend that you provide a complete picture of the financial situation of you and your spouse – the more detailed the better- at the first meeting with your new divorce lawyer, in order to optimize productivity and speed up the process of divorce.
A common question that we at the Law Office of Frederic E. Waczewski, P.A. often receive from spouses seeking divorce or looking to find out more about divorce in order to decide upon going through with it is whether or not the meeting is confidential. The answer to this question is yes: your meeting with a divorce lawyer is absolutely confidential, including your initial meeting, even if the client in question is simply seeking out the options and possibilities of divorce. There are many situations in which spouses are not a hundred percent certain that a divorce is the right choice for them, but they want to find out what they can expect if they move forward with the process. The client should know that all attorney-client communications are absolutely confidential and protected, and a client’s right of privacy is also absolute. This means that clients seeking divorce or information regarding the process do not have to worry about their spouses finding out, including if they decide not to go through with the final divorce process.
Contact Us Today
Divorce can be a difficult time in many ways, which is why you need the right lawyer to guide you through it. Coming prepared to your first meeting can help speed up the process and give your divorce lawyer a more complete picture of the situation that you and/or your spouse are in, so that they can help you figure out the best options. The Law Office of Frederic E. Waczewski, P.A. is an Orlando personal injury lawyer and divorce attorney with over a decade of experience in divorce law. Call us for a free initial consultation today!