If you’re wondering what you’ll need to bring to a first appointment with a family lawyer, here’s what is typically required. Although when you engage them, a good family lawyer should send you the list of information and documents they require you to gather, it’s often helpful to know what’s expected beforehand as some documents may take time to compile.
Here’s a list of what you can usually expect to provide to your family lawyer.
- Your full name and date of birth
- Your contact information (address, landline/mobile phone number, and email address)
- Your occupation and income
- Your employment and income history
- Your spouse’s full name and date of birth
- Your spouse’s contact information (address, landline/mobile phone number, and email address)
- Your spouse’s occupation and income
- Your spouse’s employment and income history
- The date your relationship started
- The date of marriage
- The date of separation
- The name of your spouse’s lawyer if he/she has one
- Copies of any correspondence you’ve received from your spousal or his/her lawyer
- Details of any settlement proposals made by you or your spouse
- The full names and dates of birth of any children
- Which parent the children now live with
- Details in relation to child support
- If you or your ex are already divorced before – a copy of the divorce order
Property and financial information:
- Any assets you had when the relationship started
- Any assets your spouse had when the relationship started
- The addresses of real estate you now have, whether owned jointly or separately
- Any appraisals or valuations you have for any real estate
- The current outstanding balance on any mortgages
- A list of all other assets that you and your spouse own, whether jointly or separately, including motor vehicles, bank accounts, shares.
- A list of all the current debt in your name or in your spouse’s name, including credit cards and personal loans.
- In relation to superannuation: the name of the fund and the current balance, for you and your spouse.
- Are there any trusts, companies, partnerships or businesses involved? If so, your lawyer will likely ask you or your accountant to provide tax returns and financial statements for these entities.
- Whether there were any major ‘outside’ contributions during the relationship, for example, inheritances, gifts from family or friends, compo payments, lottery wins.
Drafting up a timeline of major events can be very useful, setting out when assets were acquired or sold, and how funds were obtained and proceeds divided. The more information your family lawyer has in front of them, the quicker they’ll be able to get to the crux of your legal issues and the more you’ll get out of your meeting. Likewise, it can be helpful drafting up a summary for your lawyer of what you think has led to your present situation (for example, drug or alcohol abuse, mental health issues, etc).
Although the paperwork and admin to be done can seem daunting, don’t hold off on seeing a family lawyer just because you haven’t yet gathered all the info. They’ll still be able to give you initial advice and can also advise you of any time limits you need to observe.
Don’t forget to take a list of all the questions you have yourself, and, lastly, consider taking a trusted friend along for moral support – don’t be embarrassed, it’s actually very common.
You may also like to look at our tips for preparing for court.
If you need help with a family law matter, please contact Canberra family lawyer Cristina Huesch or one of our other experienced solicitors here at Alliance Legal Services.
Please note our blogs are not legal advice. For information on how to obtain the correct legal advice, please contact Alliance Legal Services.