Making the decision to end one’s marriage is not made lightly, but it is the first of many decisions that parties looking to dissolve their union will have to make. It is best to consult a Cleveland divorce lawyer, experienced in family law issues, at the outset of this process to gain a better understanding of the legal intricacies that will impact the terms of your dissolution or divorce. Choosing an attorney who will work for your best interests and help you navigate the complicated waters of dissolution or divorce is especially important.
Tips to Consider When Meeting with a Cleveland Divorce Lawyer
You can get the most out of your first meeting with a family law attorney if you do your homework ahead of time. Here are three tips to consider if you will be meeting with a family law attorney for the first time:
- Come to the meeting prepared to discuss the entire portrait of your married life from a financial standpoint. From mortgages and car payments to insurance premiums to what you pay for your child to play on a travel team or dance class; no detail is too small.
- Establish a timeline of dates to determine when significant financial events took place leading up to and during the marriage. When were the retirement or investment accounts opened? Was the house purchased before the marriage and where did the down payment money come from? It is helpful to check ahead of time and determine whether loan accounts, credit cards, deposit accounts, car titles, etc., are titled to you, your spouse, or jointly.
- You don’t need to drag boxes full of documents to the meeting. Just assemble a summary of the information for an at-a-glance review and be familiar with the facts so you can easily find dates and figures that come up during your intake discussions.
Information to Prepare Before Your Meeting
What information will you need? Here is a list of some of the information you’ll want to collect about both you and your spouse to make the most of your meeting with a Cleveland divorce lawyer:
Income may be represented by more than just a weekly paycheck. Are you aware if any of these other categories might apply to you or your spouse?
- Gross yearly income including overtime, commissions and bonuses
- Other income including pensions, social security, workers comp, royalties, unemployment benefits, trust income, annuities, dividends, rental income, AFDC, SSI, food stamps, spousal support from a prior spouse, etc.
- Extra benefits of employment such as a company car, club membership or stock options
You will need to disclose all property during your legal matter. Become as familiar as you can with your assets and their worth. Some of these items may require some digging, but a general, and early knowledge of what your case will need to consider can help you begin to understand what this process will entail and what your goals in separating assets will be.
- Real estate and vehicle assets
- Financial accounts – checking, savings, CDs, money markets
- Pension and retirement accounts – profit sharing, IRAs, 401ks
- Stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other securities
- Furniture and appliances
- Is there a safe deposit box?
- Gun or coin collections, artwork, jewelry, etc.
Know how much you owe on each and whose name the account is in.
- Secured debt — mortgages and vehicle loans
- Unsecured debt — credit cards
Separate Property Claims
The following categories are generally not subject to division and require your attorney to fight for legal protection of them. Determine is any of the assets fit into the following:
- Property owned before marriage
- Passive income from separate property
- Property acquired after a decree of legal separation
- Prenuptial agreement
- Personal injury compensation
- Gits made solely to one spouse
Manning & Clair Attorneys At Law are expert Cleveland divorce lawyers with extensive experience in family law and understand what you are going through. The decisions you make now can impact your life for years to come, so please contact us to set up a call or meeting. Our promise is to offer you both compassion during this tough time, as well as expert legal advice that protect your interests and help you reach a resolution.