considering a divorce in california

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About Family Law

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Preparing For An Appointment With Your Divorce Lawyer

By: Michele Sacks Lowenstein, Certified Family Law Specialist;
State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization

Once you have set an appointment, you to need prepare for that interview in order to get the most bang for your buck when you and the attorney meet. The attorney must have a basic understanding of the facts of your case, and the marital assets and debts.


Here’s a guideline to prepare for this meeting.

Tax Returns and Divorce Planning

Think of your tax returns as the map to a treasure trove. They show much more information than merely the amount of money you and your spouse make. These returns can lead the attorney to pension plans, investment accounts, and other assets. The tax returns may also assist the attorney in determining how much alimony and child support you might receive, or might have to pay.


It is helpful to provide the attorney with the last three years of tax returns.

Divorce May Involve Your Pension Plans

If you or your spouse have a pension plan, Individual Retirement Account, or 401(k) plan, bring the most recent statement from those plans. Your attorney can review the statements and determine the amount of money deposited into the plans over the past year, and also see if any of the deposits are employer contributions or are mandatory employee contributions.


That will have a bearing on the support issue.

Pay Stubs

Provide at least the last three pay stubs to the attorney. The pay stubs will show if you and/or your spouse receive any bonuses or commissions.They will also show whether you or your spouse are compensated for expenses such as mileage, meals, or cellular phone.Pay stubs reflect health benefits and cafeteria-type plans, and retirement deductions taken from your pay on a regular basis.


The pay stubs will also give the attorney specific detailed financial information to calculate the amount of alimony and child support.

Documenting Real Estate for Divorce Planning

Provide all deeds, mortgage statements, and escrow papers for all property you and your spouse currently own. The same documentation should be provided for property you owned in the past.


Meeting with an attorney can be an apprehensive and unsettling experience.


Write down any questions or concerns you have prior to your appointment. This list will help you to remain on track during the consultation and assist you in obtaining answers.


To make the most of your consultation, so you can make the necessary decisions regarding representation in your divorce, you must be prepared and focused for this meeting.