After the searching is done and you've finally settled on someone to serve as your South Carolina family law attorney, you will eventually need to set a time for your first meeting. Though many people show up to these meetings with nothing and without doing any preparation, there are things you can do to get ready for meeting with a divorce lawyer and ensuring that you get the most bang for your buck. The following are some things to consider bringing with you to help guarantee that you get the most out of your first meeting.
Though it's ultimately up to your attorney to gather the documents necessary for completing your divorce, you can help him out by showing up prepared. The most important financial records that your attorney will need is your tax returns or recent pay stubs for both spouses. The tax returns explain how much you and your spouse have been earning over time and can be useful in gauging potential alimony and child support issues in your case. Pay stubs provide an updated picture of earnings, especially when bonuses or commissions are a factor.
Retirement/pension/401(k) plan details are also important, as these accounts frequently represent some of the largest assets owned by a couple. Having recent statements helps to provide your lawyer with a snapshot of your current financial situation and enables him to begin to assess how much money needs to ultimately be divided.
The same thing goes with bank and other investment account statements. Bring copies of real estate deeds and your most recent checking, savings, investment, and money market account statements. Finally, mortgage statements, credit card statements, and any other loan documentation can be helpful to give to your lawyer.
Beyond showing up with documents, it can also pay to show up with questions that are important to you. Many people have a million questions for their divorce attorney, but without a list, these questions can sometimes disappear in the moment. In the days before your meeting, keep a notepad nearby and jot down the questions that pop into your head, ensuring that when you're in the meeting you remember to address the issues that are most important to you.