Preparing for an initial consultation with an attorney about a pending divorce, in Texas or in any state, can be very stressful. Most consultations are about one hour, so that means you have limited time to share all of the information that you feel is pertinent to your divorce.
This is also your opportunity to determine if the attorney is right for you.
With that in mind, it’s important to be prepared for your initial consult so you can both make the most of your time.
It’s important to remember that in an initial consult you have attorney–client privilege. This means that you can be and should be honest about yourself and your situation without worrying about what you say being used against you.
If you have already been served with a divorce petition in Texas, make sure to bring that to the initial consultation. There’s information in there that will be important to the attorney.
One of the first things you’ll need to discuss is the reason you feel you are getting divorced. People get divorced for different reasons, but this is your opportunity to share your story. Your story may be emotional, embarrassing, or difficult to discuss; however, it’s important to share honestly with your attorney if you want them to be able to help you.
It’s ok to cry in an initial consult — people often do when they’re sharing deeply personal information, and a good attorney understands and accepts this.
If you have children, be prepared to discuss them in your initial consultation. Consider these questions:
You should know in advance that the vast majority of Texas divorces end with the parents having some kind of joint custody of the children.
It’s rare that the other parent will have not have any rights to your children, or possession or visitation with the children.
Be prepared for joint custody, but be able to express to your attorney
Ultimately, the judge must make the decision based upon what is in the best interest of your children, not their parents.
Child support typically goes hand in hand with discussing child possession schedules — Most likely, but not always, one of the parents will end up paying child support and health insurance for the children.
Therefore, you’ll need to be prepared to talk about your income and your spouse’s income.
If there were no children born or adopted during the marriage, then be prepared to discuss your financial situation during your initial consultation.
This means giving your attorney a realistic picture of all of your assets and debts, those that were acquired by both of you during the marriage as well as any that you and/or your spouse had before the marriage.
If you have a prenuptial agreement, bring that to your initial consultation.
You’ll need to discuss your assets during your initial consult. These can include the following:
Often overlooked, but just as important to discuss during your initial consult, are your debts. Again, be prepared to discuss joint debts or any debts that either of you had before the marriage.
Common debts that need to be discussed include mortgage debt, vehicle loans, credit card debt, student debts, outstanding IRS debt, and any other unsecured debt.
It’s just as important to divide the debts appropriately in a divorce as it is to divide the assets.
If you are considering filing for divorce in Texas or have been served with a divorce petition by your spouse, you need to set up an initial consultation with a family law attorney.
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