I meet with all types of potential clients. There are those who come to the consultation just looking for general information. There are others who come in with bags and boxes of paperwork – only some of which is helpful to me as a lawyer. Many people come in and want information about a potential alimony or child support obligation or entitlement. But without necessary financial information, it is next to impossible for any lawyer to provide an educated answer.
So I created a 28 day countdown of things to do, information to gather and stuff to bring with you to your consultation.
Day 28: Look for last year’s tax return. Make a copy.
Day 27: Find your most recent mortgage statement showing monthly payment and principal balance. Make a copy.
Day 26: Do you or your spouse have a pension, IRA, or 401K? Snag that end of year statement and make a copy.
Day 25: What is your health insurance situation? If you’ll need to find coverage, check for open enrollment periods and get an estimate of cost.
Day 24: Figure out the average of each of your monthly utility bills including water/sewer, electric, gas or oil, cable, telephone (including cell). Make a list.
Day 23: Take note of any credit cards used by you and your spouse. Write down the balances and how much you pay each month.
Day 22: How much do you spend, on average, each month on groceries for the family? Figure it out.
Day 21: If you have children, do you pay for work related child care, private school or pre-school? Write down the cost per month.
Day 20: Call to schedule your consultation so you can get a time that is convenient for you.
Day 19: Make a copy of your driver’s license, & health and auto insurance cards.
Day 18: Do you have life insurance? Write down the company, policy number, coverage and beneficiary. But do not make changes.
Day 17: Think about miscellaneous household costs. Do you pay a landscaper or for snow removal? Figure out the average monthly cost.
Day 16: Do your children take lessons such as music, dance or karate? Figure out the average monthly cost.
Day 15: How much do you spend on restaurants per month? Write it down.
Day 14: Do you or your family belong to a gym or private club? Figure out the average monthly cost for dues or membership fees.
Day 13: Do you or your spouse have regular commuting expenses such as tolls or parking? Calculate the average monthly cost.
Day 12: Do you or your spouse regularly donate to charity? Figure out the average monthly contribution.
Day 11: Pets…. they can be expensive. Do you have family pets? How much do you spend on them per month? This information could be relevant in a divorce.
Day 10: Are you or your spouse owed a significant sum of money from someone? Make note of the circumstances and how much.
Day 9: Have you or your spouse been gifted money from relatives? Make note of the amount and why it was gifted.
Day 8: Have you considered where you will live after divorce? Identify your goals.
Day 7: Today is a holiday. Take some time to de-stress and enjoy the day.
Day 6: Do either you or your spouse have chronic health issues? Make notes of any conditions and medications.
Day 5: What will you tell nosy family members or friends? Write down one or two sentences to use as a position statement as to why you do not need to discuss it. Your lawyer will help you.
Day 4: What are your initial questions? Write them down so you do not forget to ask.
Day 3: Take a look at the pile of information and notes you have accumulated. Organize it as best you can.
Day 2: Review the entire countdown on my blog. Did you miss anything?
Day 1: Review and become familiar with the information you collected. I bet you learned something along the way! Tonight, toast to yourself in the new year! Moving forward – one way!
Did you call for your consultation yet? Call now for an appointment. 609-904-3020.