Before you meet with your divorce lawyer in Bethlehem, PA, for the first time, you may wonder what will happen at that first meeting. Generally, every initial consultation with an attorney is used to identify the problems and find a solution. And if you’re not shopping around for attorneys, then you can get right down to business in your first meeting.
What to Bring
Technically, you don’t have to bring anything for your first meeting. While your lawyer is definitely going to need financial records and plenty of other documentation from you down the road, you don’t have to bring it all at the first meeting. However, if you’d like to get started on the process, you could bring recent years’ income tax filings, pay stubs, and any other financial records you can find. You can also bring anything that might be considered incriminating evidence for your spouse’s infidelity or abusive behavior, if that’s the case.
What to Say
Your lawyer is going to give you an opportunity to talk about your situation. It’s extremely important that you tell the truth about everything. Your lawyer will keep your conversation confidential, so there is no reason to lie. And if you don’t sugarcoat things, then you have a much better chance of receiving an honest assessment of your situation.
But what if the truth doesn’t help you get a divorce on your terms? If your partner is really the better choice for being the custodial parent, then lying about it is probably not going to help you. If you cheated on your spouse, then this fact is probably going to come up in court. By telling your lawyer the truth now, you can figure out how to make the best of the situation. For example, you’ll probably still be granted extensive visitation rights—and you might not have to pay any alimony, after all.
Disclose Important Facts
During your initial conversation, you need to disclose the most important facts of your case. Your attorney needs to know whether you have any underage children, how much you and your spouse earn, your and your spouse’s ability to earn a living later (especially if one of you is not working or working part-time), your expenses, and your current level of debt.
You don’t have to have the exact answers during the first meeting; in fact, most people don’t. But without knowing the extent of your financial situation, your attorney can only give you an idea of what alimony and child support payments might look like.
Finally, you also need to talk about personal issues. Martial misconduct or abuse is a serious matter in all states, even in no-fault divorce states. While cheating on your spouse may not affect your ability to get a divorce, it can definitely influence how much you end up paying in alimony and what the division of assets will look like. Either way, your attorney needs to know what happened in order to choose the best course of action for your situation.
Discuss the Next Step
Before the end of the meeting, you will need to discuss the next step with your attorney. This could be gathering additional documents, thinking things over, interviewing another attorney, or filing for divorce right away. Before you leave, your attorney may also collect your personal information to allow him to file for divorce on your behalf whenever you’re ready.
The divorce process can be difficult and time consuming to maneuver. Fortunately, you don’t have to do all of the hard work on your own. Before you meet with your attorney, you may want to write down a list of questions to ask. A helpful divorce lawyer in Bethlehem, PA, will take the time to address your concerns during your conversation.