Preparing for Your First Meeting with a Houston Divorce Attorney
You’ve made the decision to end your marriage and have set up a consultation with a divorce lawyer in Houston, which is a great first step if it’s time to leave your current relationship. If you’re like most people, this is the first time you’re going through this process and are unsure about what to expect. Here are five things that you should do to prepare for your first meeting with your divorce attorney to help you get as much out of your meeting as possible. This first meeting is crucial to the process of divorce in Texas.
Meeting with a complete stranger to discuss something as intimate as divorce is understandably a stressful experience for many people. It’s important to understand that divorce lawyers are professionals who work with people in your situation on a daily basis. In addition, keep in mind that anything you tell your attorney is confidential and that he or she has an ethical duty to be on your side. Your lawyer is never going to judge you or question your version of events, so there’s no reason to stress out about your first meeting
2. Be Prepared to Ask Questions
During your first meeting with your lawyer, he or she will undoubtedly have many questions for you about your situation. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that your initial meeting is also an opportunity for you to ask your attorney questions. Divorce in Texas is a complicated legal matter, and part of your lawyer’s job is to help you understand the process you are about to go through and your legal rights. Understand, however, that your attorney can’t guarantee any results, so don’t expect to get answers to questions like “am I going to get the house?” or “how much alimony am I going to receive?” Some examples of questions you may want to ask at your first meeting with your Houston divorce lawyer include the following:
• What are your fees?
• Can you estimate the total cost of my case?
• Based your initial impressions, will I be able to receive temporary spousal support?
• How long do you take to respond to emails or phone calls?
• Will anyone else in the office be working on my case?
• Do you settle or litigate most of your divorce cases?
• How long does your average divorce case last?
These are just a few of the questions that you may want to ask during your first meeting with a lawyer. Don’t hesitate to make a list of questions that come to mind in the days and weeks leading up to your first meeting and bring it in with you. You should walk out of your appointment with a better understanding of the divorce process and feeling confident that you’ve chosen the right lawyer to represent you.
3. Gather Important Financial Documents
You should bring basic financial documents to your first meeting in order to allow your attorney to get a basic overview of you and your spouse’s assets and liabilities. These are fundamental when discussing property division in a Texas divorce. Examples of the documents that you may want to bring in include:
• Bank statements
• Credit card statements
• Business operating agreements
• Brokerage account information
• Investment account information
• 401-K and other retirement account statements
Bring as much information as you can, and keep in mind that it doesn’t matter if an account or an asset is your name or your spouse’s name only. Whether assets are community property or separate property is often a complicated legal question, and the name on the account or title is often irrelevant to that determination. If you can’t find important information, don’t worry too much about it, as your lawyer will be able to obtain anything you need for your case during the discovery process.
Please see our article “Property and Debt Division in Texas: What you should Know” fore more information on assets and liabilities.
4. Be Ready to Discuss Personal Details about Your Life
Perhaps one of the most difficult things about your first meeting with a Houston divorce lawyer is the fact that you’re going to discuss details of your personal life that you may not be comfortable discussing with a friend, much less someone you’ve never met. Remember, it’s important for your attorney to know as much as possible about your situation and your marriage as possible. Holding back information can only hurt your case, it can never help. Some of the more uncomfortable issues that may arise include the details of your financial circumstances, substance abuse, infidelity, domestic violence, or mental health conditions. While it may be difficult to discuss these kinds of issues, you need to be prepared to do so, as they could have a significant impact on your rights and the outcome of your divorce.
5. Make a List of Your Goals In Divorce
Finally, it’s important to communicate your goals to your attorney. For example, if you really want the house, it’s essential that your attorney knows that fact when he or she starts developing a negotiation or litigation strategy. Likewise, it will have a significant impact on the way your attorney goes about advocating for your rights if you really don’t care about the house, as walking away from the marital home can be used as a strong bargaining chip in negotiations. Make a list of everything you’d like in regard to your assets, your children, and your future financial obligations or rights and share that list with your attorney. The more your lawyer knows about what you want, the better he or she can represent you.
To Schedule a Free Consultation with a Houston Divorce Attorney, Call The Rudisel Law Firm, P.C. Today.
If you are considering getting a divorce or think that one may be in your near future, it’s a good idea to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney. Whether a contested divorce or uncontested divorce, the process can have an impact on the most important aspects of your life, including your financial security and your relationship with your children, so it’s critical to make sure that your rights are protected along every step of the way. We’re here to help, so please fill out an online evaluation using the “Contact Us” link in the menu or call us at 713-781-7775 today.
For more valuable information, please check out the following articles on Divorce in Texas: