We understand that visiting a lawyer is a daunting experience at any stage let alone during one of the most stressful periods in your life. You may feel that coming to your Family Law appointment prepared will make the process a little easier. You might want to start by thinking about:
- What do I want and why is this important to me?
- What is most important for our children?
- What am I hoping is going to happen in the short-term and in the long term?
- What am I most worried about?
When you attend your appointment, feel free to write down a list of any specific questions you have. You may want to write down any advice our lawyer gives you or things that you want to follow up on. We can provide you with a pen and paper. We appreciate that this is a new process to you and that it’s easy to forget the things we have said.
So that we can provide you with the best possible advice, we require information about your personal circumstances. If you are seeking advice about a property settlement, we will want to know rough facts and figures. You may feel you get more out of your appointment if you can provide:
A summary of your family history:
The date you began living with your spouse; the date of your marriage, the date your separated and details about your children (full names, dates of birth and current living arrangements).
Details of income and employment:
It will be helpful if you are able to outline the history of your employment for both you and your spouse or partner, including any periods at which time either of you were unemployed. You might want to bring information that demonstrates the employment of you and your spouse or partner, including tax returns, notices of assessment, and pay slips.
A list of all assets and liabilities:
We will need to know how your assets and liabilities are held by each of you, whether individually and jointly. This may include:
- Real Estate;
- Assets such as vehicles, furniture, jewelry and contents;
- Bank accounts, stock or investment accounts, business accounts;
- Financial statements for the last three years for any private companies in which either your or your spouse have an interest;
- Information about any trusts in which either of you have an interest;
- Details of your superannuation or life insurance policies;
- A list of debts for each of you individually and jointly. This may include mortgages, credit cards, bank loans and personal guarantees.
You will also want to turn your mind to your asset position at the start of your relationship, as well as any inheritance, windfalls or substantial gifts either of you may have received over the course of the relationship.
We understand that it is not always possible to access all or any of this information and whilst it is not essential to your first Family Law appointment, it will help us in making an initial assessment of your matter. We want to help you through this difficult time and sharing your story in detail will help us advise you about the appropriate options available to you.