Many clients are unsure of what information to bring with them to their initial appointment with a family law lawyer or how much information they need to tell their lawyer.
Whether you need someone to explain the process to you so you can make an informed decision about how you want to proceed or you need advice on arrangements for children or financial matters, when meeting with our family law lawyers for the first time, it is important that you are prepared. This will ensure you get the most out of your initial meeting and save you costs in the long run.
You will need to be able to tell us:
- When you and your partner got married or started living together.
- Birth dates of yourself, your former partner/spouse and your children.
- The date you separated.
- When you acquired major assets like your house, cars, investment properties, etc.
- If your former partner/spouse is legally represented and if yes, who their lawyer is.
If there are property division issues to be determined, the following information will also be of assistance:
- A list of current assets and liabilities, whether in your name, joint names, your partner’s name or in a family trust or company.
- Copies of any and all relevant financial documents. This could be income tax returns, business or personal bank statements, superannuation statements, credit card statements.
- If there is an agreement with your former partner/spouse about division of property, what terms have been agreed and whether you believe the agreement is achievable.
- If there is no agreement with your former partner/spouse about the property settlement, then what are your expectations and why.
- A history of each of yours and your partner’s employment throughout the relationship, including an estimate of what each of you were earning in each position.
If there are children’s issues, the following information will be of assistance:
- A copy of any existing order or parenting plan (written agreement) concerning your children.
- Have you and your former partner been to mediation? Would you feel comfortable attending mediation with your spouse or former partner, and if not, why not.
- Has there been any domestic violence in the relationship or do you have concerns about your safety or that of your children when they are with your former partner.
- You proposal to resolve the care arrangements for your children and how it can best be implemented.
- Any special occasions or significant events when you would like your children to be in your care so that these can be arranged at the outset.
Remember the more information you provide to us, the more effectively we can provide you with timely and cost effective advice to progress your family matter.