In a previous blog post we addressed what types of questions a prospective client should ask a Florida divorce attorney when evaluating whether to retain a law firm for legal representation in a divorce case. There also are a number of documents that you should bring to an initial consultation that can facilitate an attorney’s evaluation of your Florida divorce case. Sometimes the attorney will schedule a follow-up consultation to review such documentation, but it can be an advantage to have the documents available for review during the initial consultation. Documents that may be useful during your initial consultation include:
Documents Reflecting Income and Benefits: The income of both parties is critical to the resolution of multiple issues including property and debt division, alimony and child support. If you bring relevant documents that reflect family income, an experienced Florida divorce attorney can provide fairly accurate estimates on child support and will have more insight on what to expect in terms of alimony. Although alimony awards are highly unpredictable in Florida, your attorney can provide more meaningful projections with the following:
- Account statements related to dividends, investment income, capital gains and other forms of income
- Tax returns during the last 3 years
- Other documents that reflect benefits with a financial value like insurance policies
Title, Deeds and other Ownership Documents: Any documentation that evidences ownership of residential property, vacation property, investment property, motor vehicles, boats and the like.
Retirement Account Statements: Retirement accounts constitute important assets that will have an impact both on the equitable distribution of property and alimony. A current retirement account statement will provide critical information that your divorce attorney needs to determine a preliminary analysis of your interest in retirement accounts.
Bank and Investment Account Information: Statements that reveal bank and investment account balances also will help in evaluating your current financial status.
Insurance Policies: If you have life insurance policies, annuities and similar assets, you should be prepared to provide information about these assets though you may not need to actually bring in documents to the initial meeting.
While many people attend their initial consultation without these documents, the quality of the information you receive can depend on providing as much information regarding your financial and income information as possible. While attorneys differ on how much information they will provide during an initial consultation, more relevant or substantive data provides the attorney with an opportunity to make more accurate predictions in terms of what you might expect.
Even if you just have questions about the divorce process in a West Palm Beach divorce but have not decided to take action, we can provide initial answers to help you evaluate your options so call us today.