Everyone can relate to the experience of walking into the grocery store without a shopping list and leaving the store without what you went in for, having spent lots of money on things you didn’t need. Notes aren’t only important for grocery shopping. They can help keep meetings on task, organized, and efficient. That is why we recommend that people bring notes into their first meeting with a family law attorney. One sheet of paper is probably enough for your first meeting. The paper should include the following:
- A quick list of the pertinent facts of your family law case. This should include the basic information of your relationship with the other party (date of marriage, date of separation, date of living together prior to marriage, any other important dates). Basic information about your income and the other party’s income (a rough estimate is sufficient for the first meeting with your attorney). A quick list of details about any children involved in the family law dispute.
- A list of the questions you want answered during the meeting. If there are any questions you have that you want answered, write them down. Your attorney may have certain information they are trying to learn about your case during your meeting and may also have information they want to give you, but it is important that you ensure that you get your questions answered.
- A space to create a to-do list based on what your family law attorney requests of you. Your attorney may give you a simple plan of seeing another expert (like a child counselor, domestic violence specialist, or financial planner). Or, your attorney may ask you to bring a whole list of documents to your next meeting. This list may include financial documents, documents related to a criminal case you were involved in, documents related to your children, or your first draft of a declaration. No matter what your next step is, it is important that you take notes on what your attorney wants you to do prior to your next meeting.
It is in your attorney’s and your best interest to make your meeting as efficient as possible. Bringing a sheet of paper with notes that provide the information your attorney is most likely to ask is an important starting point. In addition, it is important that you ensure that you ask the questions you need to ask and that you are prepared to take the next steps forward in your family law case. In most cases, all of this information can be contained on one page. It probably goes without saying in the age of the smartphone, but the information contained on the sheet of paper could just as easily be stored on a smartphone.
If you would like to speak to a Seattle area family law attorney about your family law case, please contact us today. We look forward to meeting with you.