Meeting your Divorce Lawyer for the first time. What to expect.

Preparing for Your First Meeting with a Houston Divorce Attorney

You’ve decided 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 unsure what to expect. Here are five things 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.

1. Relax

Meeting with a stranger to discuss something as intimate as divorce is understandably a stressful experience for many people. It’s important to understand that divorce lawyers work with people in your situation daily. 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 will never judge 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 on 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 questions 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. You should leave your appointment with a better understanding of the divorce process and feel 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 to give your attorney an overview of your 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 remember 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” for 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 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, your attorney needs to know as much as possible about your situation and marriage. 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 discussing these kinds of issues may be difficult, you must be prepared to do so, as they could significantly impact 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 want the house, your attorney must know that fact when he or she starts developing a negotiation or litigation strategy. Likewise, it will significantly impact how your attorney advocates for your rights if you don’t care about the house, as walking away from the marital home can be a strong bargaining chip in negotiations. Make a list of everything you’d like regarding your assets, children, and future financial obligations or rights, and share that list with your attorney. The more your lawyer knows 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 soon, it’s a good idea to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney. Whether a contested or uncontested divorce, the process can impact the most important aspects of your life, including your financial security and your relationship with your children, so it’s critical to ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way. We’re here to help, so please fill out an online evaluation or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

For more valuable information, please check out the following articles on Divorce in Texas: