How should I prepare for my first meeting with a family lawyer?
It is an unfortunate reality that January sees a high volume of couples starting the process of separation or divorce.
From our experience there are many explanations for January seeing this spike, be it family tensions over the festive period, financial concerns, or individuals evaluating their personal circumstances.
However, we recognise that every case is different and we know that meeting a family lawyer for the first time could be a daunting experience.
The purpose of the first meeting is for you to meet the lawyer who will be advising and guiding you through a difficult and stressful time. The lawyer will be your point of contact going forward, either by further meetings, phone calls or email correspondence.
The first meeting with a family lawyer will involve a lot of questions both from the lawyer and from you.
It is important that by the end of the meeting, you feel informed about your options and the next steps.
It is worth considering the following points to assist both you and the family lawyer during the first meeting:
- The family lawyer will wish to know important key dates. It is worth taking note of important dates so you have these to hand during the meeting. In particular, consider the date your relationship started, your date of marriage and any children’s dates of birth.
- If you have already separated, the date on which you separated is very important. You may not have an agreed date of separation but it is worth thinking about when you consider you separated, whether you were in a relationship as a married couple or cohabiting.
- It is also helpful to consider dates concerning financial matters. The family lawyer will wish to know when you purchased any property i.e. the family home.
- It will assist the family lawyer during the first meeting if you can provide a summary of the finances of your relationship.
- It is important to consider how much you paid for the family home and how this was funded, what you or your former partner/spouse earns, any agreement or discussion regarding child maintenance where appropriate, bank accounts, shares and investments and any debts.
- You should also consider whether there have been any gifts from third parties or inherited funds acquired during the relationship. If so, consider when the funds were paid and what happened to the funds.
- You may wish to review any paperwork you have in respect of the financial matters before the meeting.
- The family lawyer will wish to see copies of certain documents in due course.
- If you have already received correspondence from a lawyer acting on behalf of your former partner/spouse or you have been served with court papers, it is important to have a copy of these to discuss with your lawyer.
The family lawyer will hopefully cover any questions you have in advance of the meeting by exploring the relevant points and gathering information from you during the first meeting.
However, you may wish to note down any questions you have before the meeting to ensure that you get the chance to raise these with your lawyer.
Our team of family lawyers are here to help you.
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