Preparing for Your First Meeting with a Divorce Attorney

We recognize that the prospect of divorce produces a lot of overwhelming anxiety, fears and maybe even shame surrounding the end of your marriage. Often times, it is picking up the phone and actually contacting a divorce attorney that is the most difficult step. As experienced divorce attorneys, we understand that and want to be as helpful as we can so that you can proceed through your divorce as painlessly as possible.

Divorce is understandably an emotional process and we know that many clients fear being judged, are consumed by guilt or are panicked by all of the impending changes in their life. Please know that your attorney will support you throughout this process and will be giving you the necessary information to make informed decisions about your options.

But, in order to make the most of your initial meeting with your attorney, it’s essential to come prepared.

Before your first meeting, you should spend some time thinking about your ideal outcome. For example:

  • What kind of custody arrangement are you hoping to have?
  • Does your spouse have anger management problems?
  • Are you hoping to remain in the marital home?
  • Is there specific personal property you are hoping to retain?
  • What does your ideal support order look like?
  • Are there specific debts that need to be divided?
  • Are there certain monetary assets you are hoping to retain, such as a trust, pension or inheritance?

It’s also important to note that it is unlikely you’ll get every single thing you want in this divorce, so it’s best to consider what is MOST significant to you.

  • Are you adamant about having primary custody of the children?
  • Are willing to fight over your spouses’ pension?
  • Are you determined to keep the family dog?
  • Are there certain items in the family home that you can’t live without?

It’s crucial that you think about what you are willing to compromise on and what you plan to fight for as it can only help your attorney prepare your case.  

It’s also prudent to write down any concerns you have, so your attorney is aware of them and can hopefully ease your fears.

For example, if you’re worried about possibly having to return to the workforce after being a stay at home parent for many years; or maybe you’re concerned about the financial aspects of running two separate households or you’re nervous about the prospect of your spouse having parenting time with your children.

As you can imagine, it’s best to get all of these issues out in the open so your attorney can determine the best way to tackle each and every one of them.

Before you have your first meeting with your attorney, it’s also vital to review your finances and bring copies of important documentation to your meeting. Typically, we ask that clients bring the following:

  • a copy of their most recent tax returns
  • any recent paystubs or W2 forms they have (for themselves AND their spouse)
  • A list of all the marital assets and their value (if possible!)
  • A list of any marital debts and the amount owed (if possible!)
  • A summary of your regularly occurring expenses (mortgage, utilities, car payment, insurance, etc.)

This will help your meeting go as smoothly as possible and allow your attorney to advise you in an efficient and effective manner. We recognize that attorneys are not cheap and we certainly do not want to waste anyone’s time OR money!

We know how tough it is to schedule that first meeting and we understand that adding a bunch of homework beforehand can often be overwhelming for clients. However, please know that this will help you in the long run.

And, if you don’t have the time or energy to do all of this, we completely understand! We certainly welcome the chance to meet with you and discuss your case and answer whatever questions we can.

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with one of our experienced divorce attorneys, please contact us at the office at 978-263-4160 to schedule an initial consultation. We look forward to meeting you!


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