A Rhode Island Divorce Attorney Serving West Warwick, RI Expands upon The Rhode Island Bar Association's Answer about What to Bring to the First Meeting with your Divorce Attorney!
The following excerpt is a brief question and answer provided on the Rhode Island Bar Association website and previously noted at RhodeIslandDivorceTips.com as part of my expansion article series to give people a more detailed answer to the questions posed on the Rhode Island Bar Association's website regarding divorce:
WHAT DO I NEED FOR THE FIRST VISIT TO MY LAWYER'S OFFICE?
To expedite your case, you should take your marriage certificate, copies of your most recent tax return, a picture of your spouse, a list of your family obligations and a list of questions you have for your lawyer. In addition, you should know the address, both residence and work of your spouse, together with all family members' place and date of birth.
Expanding upon the response provided by the Rhode Island Bar Association's Divorce Question, I prefer not make any assumptions.
A prospective Rhode Island family court litigant needs to be aware that there is a difference between your first visit to a lawyer's office (meaning you have not engaged the divorce lawyer's services yet) and your first visit to your lawyer's office (meaning a lawyer who you have already engaged to represent you.)
As a Rhode Island Divorce and Family law practitioner, I believe the answers to these questions are completely different.
For our purposes, the question on the Rhode Island Bar Association's website says "my lawyer" so let's address the first visit to a divorce attorney that you have already engaged to represent you in court in a divorce case in the Rhode Island Family Court system.
What you need for your first visit to your lawyer's office will differ depending upon your lawyer's philosophy, work practice, and how he or she organizes his or her law practice. Since divorce lawyers differ as much as one house does from the next, your first priority should be to ask your lawyer what you should bring to your first meeting.
If your lawyer has a secretary or paralegal that he or she works closely with, it is a good idea to find out the person's name, gender and title. This contact is likely to be very valuable to you in the future. In fact, even if your attorney has told you what to bring to your first meeting, it is a good idea to make a brief call to this contact person and has him or her what should be brought to the meeting to speed things up.
Many busy attorneys tend to focus on legal issues and may forget a document or two, in many instances a secretary or paralegal working with your divorce attorney will have more of a focus on the documents and may remember one or two that the attorney didn't mention. This quick call to your divorce attorney's support staff could save you considerable time and money simply by having a second person tell you what documents you should bring. Always bring what your attorney requests. Also bring with you the documents the secretary or paralegal recommends as well.
Personally, I have never requested the picture of the spouse and have never had need for it, even when service of process upon the spouse has been a bit more difficult.
A certified copy of your Marriage Certificate is needed to file for divorce and you must have a DR-6 Statement of Financial Assets and Liabilities completed and signed under oath as well as a check for $100 made payable to the Rhode Island Family Court if you have not arranged for the payment of the State of Rhode Island's $100 divorce filing fee with your attorney in advance.
A list of questions for your attorney is always advisable. I recommend providing your Rhode Island Divorce attorney with a summary of all the assets and debts you and your wife have accumulated over the years.
It will help any divorce attorney immensely and save you money if you make an itemized list of each asset you and your spouse have, identify how was obtained, list who obtained it, give its approximate value and how you arrived at that value and lastly, if there are any names associated with the ownership of the item (i.e. such as names on a house deed, or names on stock certificates or a retirement plan).
It will also be a tremendous help to your divorce lawyer if you prepare a similar outline for each debt that has accumulated during your marriage. For each debt it is helpful to any divorce attorney if you identify what the debt is (i.e. house mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, student loans, etc. . ) the amount of the debt, what the monies or charges were used for, when they were used and whose name is on the debt as an obligor.
Aside from the foregoing, it is best to take direction from and follow the requests of your Rhode Island Divorce Attorney and his or her staff and always be prepared to openly express your concerns to your divorce attorney.
Christopher A. Pearsall, Attorney-at-Law
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