How To Prepare For Your First Meeting With A Divorce Lawyer

March 24, 2020 Madsen Law

It is surprising the amount of misinformation and half-truths that people pick up from well-meaning friends and associates along the separation journey.  Sometimes that misinformation can be overwhelming leading to uncertainty and paralysis.  Sometimes it causes unrealistic expectations and sometimes overconfidence.  It is important to get the right advice at the right time from a Specialist Family Lawyer.

What to Expect?

What happens during the first divorce consultation depends on a number of factors including:-

  • Whether you have already discussed divorce with your spouse;
  • Whether both parties have come to a mutual agreement to divorce;
  • Whether the divorce may be acrimonious;
  • Whether Mediation is an option; or
  • Whether there are emergency factors such as domestic violence, child abuse or threatened abduction, or withholding of finances or other economic coercion that may require strong and decisive Court action.

The aim of the first divorce consultation is to get a good understanding of your personal situation so that we can address the issues that most concern you, and generally that is:-

  1. What options do you have?
  2. How long does it usually take?
  3. How much does it typically cost?

What to Bring?

There is certain information you will need to share with us to simply make it possible for us to get to know your situation and to contact you.  Set out in the table below is the list of information and documents you should gather and bring with you to the first appointment.

CHECKLIST TICK WHEN COMPLETE
About You  
Details of your full name, address, date of birth and photo ID.  
Details of your personal income (i.e. recent payslip).  
Details of work experience and qualifications.  
About Your Spouse    
Personal information including full name, address, date of birth.  
Details of your spouse’s personal income.  
Details of your spouse’s relevant work experience and qualifications.  
About Your Children    
Details of full names, dates of birth, state of health, current school attendance.  
Details of current financial support arrangements for your children.  
Your Marriage  
The date and place of your marriage.  
The date you and your spouse began living together.  
Your separation date.  
Your property and assets.  
A list of all assets (irrespective of who may be the legal owner) and your estimate of the value of each item including all bank accounts (Branch, BSB and account number and current balance).  
Details of all liabilities including home loan, car loan, personal loan, hire purchase and credit card and store card debts.  
Details of any lump sums of cash received during the marriage relationship including inheritances, gifts, redundancies, compensation, personal injury compensation payout.  
Make and model and registration number of all motor vehicles (including any recreational vehicle).  
Superannuation – your current Member Statement, the value of your superannuation interest at the commencement of your marriage.  
Your spouses’ current superannuation entitlements and the value of the superannuation at the commencement of your marriage relationship.  
Details of Life Insurance Policies.  
Details of, number and type of shares held/  
Details of any other investments.  

If there are any pending Court dates, it is important that you advise us of that as well as provide us with all Court documents.

Who to Bring?

A consultation with a Family Lawyer about your relationship breakdown can be quite an emotional affair which means it is not advisable to bring children, although you may wish to bring a trusted family member or a friend to provide some practical and emotional support.

Preparing Yourself for the Meeting:

It is useful for you to start thinking strategically.  When it comes to ownership of the house, one of only 3 outcomes are possible.  You keep the house (in which case you will need to contact a Mortgage Broker to see how much you can borrow), your spouse keeps the house, or you sell it and divide the proceeds.  You may have concerns such as, about protecting business assets.  You may need to make a withdrawal of funds to provide a means to vacate the home to live elsewhere (such as for rent in advance and bond). You may need to make copies of your computer hard drive.  You may need to change the passwords on your DropBox account, phone account, email account, and internet banking accounts.  You will need to make copies of important documents including your Birth and Marriage Certificate, superannuation statements, financial documents.  Such as Tax Returns, Payslips, Bank Statements and Registration Insurance Certificates for various assets.