If you are considering a divorce, one of your first major steps will be to sit down with a divorce lawyer to discuss your personal situation and the options you have available. To get the most out of this initial consultation, there are some useful steps you can take to prepare. While these steps are by no means mandatory, the more information you can bring to the table, the more personalized advice your attorney will be able to give you about your divorce.

Once you schedule your initial divorce consultation, it will be worth your while to:

1. Make Copies of Your Financial Records

Your finances will play a central role in your divorce, from impacting the distribution of your marital property to helping determine your rights or obligations with regard to child support and alimony. The following sources of information are all relevant; and, just in case your spouse attempts to misuse or conceal assets, you want to make sure that you have current records in your possession:

  • Checking and savings accounts
  • IRA and 401(k) accounts
  • Pensions
  • Brokerage accounts
  • Credit card statements
  • Mortgage and car loans
  • Student loans
  • Financial records from a family business
  • Recent tax returns

2. Make Copies of You and Your Spouses’ Pay Stubs

You and your spouse’s respective incomes will also be highly-relevant to your divorce. Make copies of your recent pay stubs; and, if you have access to them, make copies of your spouse’s pay stubs as well.

3. Make a List of Your Assets

Under Texas’s community property law, any property that you or your spouse acquired during your marriage will be subject to division in your divorce (with only limited exceptions). Texas law requires a “just and right” division, which does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split. To make sure you receive the share of your community property to which you are legally entitled, it will be important to have a list of all of the assets in your marital estate. You should also make note of any assets you owned prior to your marriage, as these will likely be considered “separate property” that is not subject to distribution.

4. Think about Your Goals Regarding Property Division, Child Custody and Visitation

During your divorce, you will need to make several important decisions that will have long-term, and in some cases permanent, implications. Which community property assets do you want to try to keep? Do you want primary custody or visitation rights? What type of visitation schedule would work for you? These are important questions, and you will want to start thinking about your answers sooner rather than later.

5. Learn More About the Divorce Process

Getting divorced isn’t easy. It takes time, commitment and an understanding of the various unique considerations involved. Our firm’s Divorce and Family Law Blog provides a wealth of information; and, if you would like personalized legal advice, our divorce lawyers are available to meet with you in a free and confidential consultation.

To schedule a consultation at our offices in McKinney, TX, please call (214) 726-1450 or contact us online. If we cannot respond to your inquiry immediately we will be in touch as soon as possible.