The process of separation is emotionally charged and often feels overwhelming for families. In the course of negotiating a separation agreement, you may need to deal with a number of legal issues including parenting arrangements, spousal and child support claims, insurance provisions and property division.
Once you have chosen the lawyer you will work with, how do you prepare for your first meeting with your St. Catharines family law lawyer? What should you bring to your appointment, what information should you be prepared to provide and what questions should you ask?
Compile important information about your situation
In order to compile your case and provide legal advice, your family lawyer will need to know specific details about your situation.
Income and Expenses
It will assist your lawyer to know your income and the income of your spouse over the past three years and to provide information about your monthly expenses and financial needs.
Assets and Debts
You should be ready to discuss the assets and debts that you have and that you share with your spouse. These assets may include real estate, personal property (contents of your home, vehicles etc.), bank accounts and retirement funds. You should also prepare a list of your liabilities such as mortgages, lines of credit, loans and credit cards.
Marital and Family History
It will help your lawyer if you have prepared a summary of your marital and family history. The summary would cover information about you, your spouse, your marriage or common law relationship, you children, your employment and the employment of your spouse, and the education and work experience of both of you during the relationship.
Be Prepared to Discuss
What arrangements should be made for your children?
- who will your children live with, what time will they spend with each parent, how will important decisions be made for the children, who pays child support and what support should be paid?
What are my needs?
- what are my financial needs, do I want to stay in the family home, what assets do I want to retain, what debts will I be responsible for?
What will be the biggest issues that you and your spouse must sort out?
Does my spouse have a lawyer, will my spouse be prepared to negotiate a separation agreement or do we have to go to court?
Questions to ask your St. Catharines Family Lawyer
What is the best process for me and what is the estimate time this will take?
What is the difference between a separation agreement and a court order?
What resource are available to help me through my case?
Are there things I can do to protect myself and to assist with my case?
What are the likely costs of my case and will my spouse pay any of my legal costs?
Family Lawyers St. Catharines