Divorce is an emotionally taxing process that may confuse and overwhelm you. Now more than ever, you need the support and guidance of someone you can trust to help you navigate the process and achieve the most favorable outcome for your situation. That person is an experienced and compassionate Ontario divorce lawyer. This is why your first meeting with your divorce lawyer is important. And remember, we are not talking just “divorce,” as all family law cases require an experienced lawyer.
A divorce lawyer can better assess your situation and help you when they have all the pertinent information they need to make informed decisions about the direction of your case. One of the ways you can help build a strong relationship with a divorce lawyer and get the advice you need during this challenging time is by knowing what to bring to your first meeting with your divorce lawyer – or, even better, what to provide to your lawyer before your first meeting.
At the Gene C. Colman Family Law Centre, we want to make your first visit with us as comfortable and stress-free as possible, which is why we conduct all meetings on Zoom. When arranging an initial consultation, we want you to consider gathering certain materials for your first meeting.
First Meeting Materials to Provide During the First Meeting with Your Divorce Lawyer
At the Gene C. Colman Family Law Centre, we want to help you get the most out of your initial consultation. A solid first meeting prepares you for what’s ahead and helps set expectations for the divorce process. Documents and information can foster communication between you and your lawyer and give them a better understanding of your unique circumstances.
Be prepared. Consider gathering the following essential information so that you get a jump start on your case:
Written Summary of the Situation
It can be challenging to focus on the facts when strong emotions cloud your judgment. Although divorce is an emotional process, your lawyer’s focus is on the facts. A written succinct point form summary helps expedite the process. We should already have your basic technical data as you would have completed our online intake process, so focus on the real issues in the case.
Copy of Marital Agreements
If you and your spouse signed a pre- or postnuptial agreement – also known as a marriage contract – let us have it before the Initial Consultation. Your lawyer must understand the parameters of any legally binding contract you and your spouse may have entered into previously.
Paystubs and Tax Information
Gather together as many financial documents as possible highlighting your and your spouse’s financial situation. These documents should include paystubs from you or your spouse’s employer, income tax returns, T4 slips, T4As, and bonus pay or commission stubs. You also want to include proof of additional sources of income. While we won’t need them during your initial meeting, it’s good to get them together in advance.
Have you filed your tax returns for the last three years? Do you have your last three years’ CRA Notices of Assessment? If you have not filed faithfully, then now is the time to get moving on that. Tax Returns and Notices of Assessments are absolute necessities – not for the Initial Consultation – but certainly for the Ontario divorce case.
List of Debts
Dividing the wealth accumulated during marriage in Ontario is only part of the divorce equation. Debts also play a role. Be sure to gather information outlining your and your spouse’s outstanding debts, like student loans, car loans, and credit card debt.
Mortgage or Deed Information
No financial picture is complete without information about your living situation. Title documents such as the deed and mortgage information are good to have.
Evidence of Family Violence
If family violence has been a factor in the relationship, then include that in your point form outline. The legislation defines “family violence” quite widely now. If you have written evidence of it, then have that on hand to provide later.
List of Questions and Outline of Goals
Our online intake platform will already have asked you to provide us with your concerns and goals. Feel free to elaborate on them in your point form outline as necessary. Do you have questions? Great. Write them down so we can discuss them during our meeting.
Contact Us for Help Today
Now you are ready for your first consultation with a Toronto and Ontario divorce lawyer. Contact the Gene C. Colman Family Law Centre today, online, by phone at 888-389-3099, or by emailing our Law Clerk to arrange your initial case evaluation with Gene C. Colman himself.