What Should I Expect During My Divorce Consultation in Maine?

What Should I Expect During My Divorce Consultation with Maine Family Lawyer

When a couple separates and prepares for divorce in Maine, emotions often take over and can cloud judgments, meaning that clear-headed decisions are challenging.

Lawyers are frequently involved early in the process, which can require each spouse to sit down and talk their situation through with a qualified divorce lawyer who will ask plenty of questions.

This may be their first-ever meeting with an attorney and it may be confronting and intimidating but a divorce lawyer should be compassionate and want to help spouses prepare for the future.

It helps to know a little more about what to expect during an initial divorce consultation in Maine—and how to prepare for the first meeting.

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Preparing for a divorce consultation mentally and emotionally

Because divorces are inherently stressful experiences for most people, it helps to understand more about preparing yourself mentally and emotionally for the first consultation with your chosen divorce attorney.

Support from friends and loved ones is important during the early stages of a divorce. A close friend or family member who has been divorced before may be able to offer some guidance, but no two divorces are the same—just as no two relationships are identical.

Remember, most divorce attorneys are sympathetic toward their clients’ situations, but they are not therapists. They want to help you arrange the best possible future through the legal system.

Give yourself enough time for the meeting with your divorce lawyer and treat it as a priority with your full attention. Some people are tempted to take another family member to the first consultation—but this is inadvisable as it may prevent you from speaking openly and, importantly, the attorney-client privilege that keeps the content of the meeting confidential does not apply when a third party is present.

Some individuals like to take notes at the initial meeting so that they can refer to the information easily.

Should you send a divorce lawyer info before the initial consultation?

Different divorce law firms have different requirements and procedures but, generally speaking, you’ll need to complete some type of “client intake” information relating to your details and your situation. This will help your attorney prepare for the initial divorce consultation.

The most basic information you will need to provide includes:

  • Name, address, and contact details
  • Date of marriage
  • Birthdates of any children
  • Date of separation

Some individuals like to include extra details, such as the purchase dates for key property and assets to assist with the property division element of a divorce but this information can be provided later if necessary.

What should you bring to the first divorce consultation?

This will depend on your circumstances but a good basic checklist of documents to bring to the first meeting with your divorce attorney includes:

  • Your latest tax return
  • Paystubs for both spouses, if possible
  • Retirement account statements (including 401(k), IRA, and pension accounts)
  • Mortgage statement with current balance
  • Documents that show the current value of the matrimonial home
  • Credit card and loan statements
  • Statements for any other major assets

If you cannot get your hands on everything, do not panic. Documents can be forwarded later but this information will help your divorce attorney to start preparing property division matters. If you decide not to use the first attorney you speak to, you will have the necessary information for the next attorney.

This documentation can form the basis of financial discussions between you and your spouse, your respective attorneys, or if you need to prepare for mediation, arbitration or even litigation later.

The divorce attorney will advise you on what other information should be forwarded to help prepare for your case if you decide to proceed.

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How can you make the most of a divorce consultation?

An initial consultation with a divorce attorney is best treated like an interview where you are both the interviewer and the interviewee. Both sides need to assess whether they are the right fit for dealing with the matters at hand. You may need to go through this process several times before you find the right law firm and attorney.

Usually, during the initial consultation, you can make the most of the time by following a few guideline tips:

  • Ask plenty of questions (make a list before?) about any legal aspects of divorce that you are not sure of.
  • Be specific about your situation so that the attorney has a good overview of your circumstances.
  • Discuss your expectations for parental rights and responsibilities, support issues, and property division (the main matters in divorces).
  • Try to get an estimate of what the divorce may cost and how you will be expected to pay from the attorney—transparency about pricing early on can avoid misunderstandings later.

Bear in mind that costs usually depend on the level of conflict in a divorce—the greater the conflict, the higher the costs. However, this is not always evident during the initial consultation as disputes can develop over time, rendering any cost estimates inaccurate.

Choosing mediation over litigation in the divorce process

Few divorces end up at trial, despite what the movies might have us believe. The majority of issues are resolved using alternative dispute resolution methods rather than litigation and settlements are usually agreed between the divorcing parties rather than decided by a judge.

Litigation and trials are adversarial and benefit few divorcing couples. It is generally best to first consider mediation if there are disagreements, disputes or conflicts. Mediation is a voluntary process based on collaboration, cooperation, compromise, and looking for mutually beneficial solutions. It is also a lot less expensive than litigation and usually results in a quicker resolution where the results remain private rather than public (like litigation).

Often, there are children to think of and an amicable, mediated solution is generally better for the long-term future of family relationships.

The decisions made can have a profound impact on your future finances as well as parenting and it is important to get them right—with the minimum of conflict.

If you need legal assistance during a divorce in Maine, speak to an experienced family law attorney at The Maine Divorce Group during an initial consultation.

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Call 207-230-6884 or contact us online to schedule a consult with one of our highly skilled family law attorneys today.

We serve many clients, just like you, across Maine in Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, & Lincoln Counties.


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Divorce is a highly emotional and stressful experience for most people. But you don’t have to face this challenge alone. Having a strong divorce attorney in your corner can help ensure that you and your children walk away from this process with the best opportunities available for future success and happiness.