If you find yourself in the middle of a family law matter, whether it is a divorce, child custody dispute or adoption, you may feel overwhelmed. There are many things to consider as you begin your legal battle, but these few steps will help you get organized as you plan to meet with and choose a family law attorney to stand by your side through this season.
1. Schedule a consultation.
The first thing you should do when planning a meeting with a family law attorney is to call and schedule an appointment. This consultation is a chance for you to meet your family law attorney and find out if their office is a good fit for your needs. It’s also a chance for your lawyer to get to know you and your case so they can work to achieve the best possible results for you.
2. Make a list of questions for your attorney.
Your family lawyer may have some pre-consultation forms for you to complete before your consultation, depending on your case. Be sure to complete these forms to the best of your ability. In addition to these forms, make a list of questions you have for your attorney. Include things that are specific to your case so that your attorney can answer anything that may arise throughout the case. If you have questions about specific laws regarding divorce, separation, child custody, grandparents’ rights, child support or adoption in your state, make sure to include these. Family laws vary from state to state, so make sure you have an accurate understanding of the laws in your state.
3. Make a budget.
It’s important that you understand your finances as you move forward in your family law matter. Clearly identify your family’s expenses and create a budget that allows you to maintain your household even after a divorce or child custody dispute. This will help you and your attorney if your case involves finances.
4. Gather financial data.
Try to gather as much family and personal financial data as possible. This can include tax returns, financial statements, real estate documents, account listings, bank statements, retirement information and any other financial data regarding your affairs. Be sure to include debt information so that your attorney can develop a true financial picture.
5. Create a calendar.
Your family law matter will likely include court dates, meetings and other appointments, so create a place where you can record dates and keep track of your schedule. Ask your attorney what information you should maintain in your planner, and set reminders so you don’t miss important dates.
6. Stay organized.
Create a system to organize and store information relevant to your case. It’s important that you know where each document is stored so that you can access them quickly when the time arises. Divorce proceedings, child custody disputes and adoptions involve a lot of paperwork, so make sure you complete everything in a timely manner and keep extra copies for your records.
7. Keep communication open.
Communication between you and your attorney is vital throughout your family law matter. When questions or concerns arise, don’t hesitate to bring them to the attention of your attorney. Open communication will be the key to a successful case.
If you are looking to begin your family law case, keep these steps in mind. Then give us a call to get started.