How to Prepare for Your First Meeting With a Family Lawyer

Going through a separation can be quite an emotional time and although daunting, making an appointment to speak to a family lawyer is a great way to get the necessary information with respect to your rights.

Each case is different and you may have specific questions you want answered. However, during your initial consultation, all of these questions may be forgotten. Or you may not be able to answer a question asked by your lawyer because you cannot recall in that moment.

So how then can you ensure to get the most of your first meeting with a family lawyer? The short answer is to be prepared.

Where there are children, you may be asked questions in relation to each child’s date of birth, their health, education, or any other matters which may affect the safety and welfare of the child. To assist with answering these questions, we recommend you bring with you your child’s birth certificate, any relevant medical information, details from the child’s school and their progress or any relevant concerns, reports from the police/DHHS or a copy of any current Intervention Orders (if any).

You may also be asked to provide details of any care or spend time arrangements with the children, so it is important that you think about any proposals you may wish to put forth. If the parties have attended mediation or another form of counselling, we would ask that you bring with you any parenting plans drawn up by the mediator, certificates of attendance and/or completion in addition to any relevant text messages or emails between the parties, in relation to the children.

Having this information available in the first meeting will allow the lawyer to discuss options in relation to what time each parent should spend with the children and if necessary, what safety provisions are available to protect the children during their visits.

Where you are seeking a division of property, it is best to have with you a series of documents including but not limited to your three most recent tax returns, your latest superannuation statement, an overview of each bank account held in your name and their current amount(s), your latest credit card or mortgage statement(s), a market appraisal for each property and a RedBook valuation for each car. Although these documents are not necessary for the first appointment, they will provide a better understanding of the asset pool and may assist in being able to determine what outcome is likely to be achieved.

So, take that first step, gather all of your relevant documents and book an appointment with one of our family lawyers today.

Maria Pejoski-Aleksovski

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