Prepare for Your Virginia Divorce Consultation in Six Steps

Virginia Divorce Consultation

To make the most out of your initial Virginia divorce consultation follow these six steps:

1. Give a brief overview of your situation and what you wish to discuss before your Virginia divorce consultation.

At the time you schedule your divorce consultation, state the topic you want to discuss and a brief overview of the facts of your case. Occasionally, topics come up that are atypical and even a seasoned divorce attorney may need to take a quick look at the law ahead of time. Providing the topic of discussion and some general facts in advance of the meeting gives the attorney an opportunity to do any needed research ahead of time so he is prepared to give you the best advice. You do not want to pay for a consult and have the attorney tell you that she needs to do further research before your question can be answered.

2. Research general information on the divorce process.

You can ask general divorce questions during a Virginia divorce consultation, but the main value of the consult is to get legal advice that pertains to your specific situation. Thus, it is a good idea to research general divorce information ahead of time from reputable Virginia family law websites so that you do not waste too much time on general questions. A few good sites to consider in addition to this one include and If you still have questions after doing general research, it is appropriate to have an attorney clarify things for you.

3. Write down your case goals before the first attorney meeting.

Write down the main objectives you want to achieve before your first attorney meeting. Is your main goal to have primary physical custody of your child, or something else, such as keeping the marital residence or obtaining adequate support. If you have multiple goals, list them in order of priority. Your lawyer can discuss with you whether your objectives are reasonably achievable based on the law and facts of your case and can go over the best strategy to achieve your reasonable goals.

4. Prepare a list of questions ahead of time.

Nearly everyone I meet for an initial divorce consultation is nervous. A lawyer’s office can be intimidating, and divorce is not an easy topic to talk about. When people are nervous, they tend to forget things. Having a list of questions at your disposal will help ensure that you cover all the ground that you want to cover at the consultation. Consider doing general research first and then put together a list of questions that you still want answered. Common questions people ask in a Virginia divorce consultation include:

  • How much support can I expect to receive?
  • Will I have to sell my house?
  • How can I keep my costs down in my divorce?
  • About how long will it take for me to get divorced?
  • What steps should I take to best prepare for separation and divorce?
  • Why should I choose you as my divorce lawyer?

5. Review your finances.

The attorney you consult with will not be able to give you much specific guidance about the likely outcome of your case if you are not able to give any specific details about your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. Consider making a rough list of your financial accounts, retirement, real estate holdings, credit card debts, etc., and if support may be at issue, go over your monthly family income from all sources and expenses. A more comprehensive financial accounting will be made after an attorney is hired, but some rough details are helpful at the initial meeting. Sometimes one spouse is in complete control of the finances, and the other spouse is left in the dark. If you are in this situation, do the best you can to describe your financial situation.

6. Send significant documents to the attorney before your Virginia divorce consultation.

Your initial Virginia divorce consultation is usually not the time to document dump your lawyer. Some documents, however, are important to provide ahead of time. If you have a prior custody and/or support order, these documents should be supplied. The same goes for any documents you have been served with after the filing of the divorce, including the summons, the divorce complaint, interrogatories, requests for production of documents, requests for admission, etc. Some attorneys may want to review additional significant documents ahead of time. Ask in advance what they want and whether you can send the documents electronically before the scheduled meeting. Once the attorney is hired, certain financial documents and other evidence will need to be supplied. It is a good idea to start collecting all important financial documents relevant to your case as soon as possible. Such important documents might include:

  • tax returns
  • recent paystubs
  • current and date of separation retirement and investment account statements
  • mortgage statements
  • tax assessments and appraisals

Your attorney will give you more information regarding which documents are needed depending on the complexity of your case. These documents will be reviewed during the drafting of a separation agreement. If a contested divorce has been filed, they also will likely be requested as part of the discovery process. It does not hurt to prepare early.

Schedule a Virginia Divorce Consultation Today

To schedule a consultation with an experienced Virginia Beach divorce lawyer, please give me a call at 757-499-1841 or fill out my contact form.

Related Posts

For tips on how to choose the best divorce lawyer, please see How to Choose the Best Divorce Lawyer for You.

For more information about the divorce process in Virginia, please see The Divorce Process in Virginia.


Schedule a Virginia divorce consultation with Jordan A. Fanney

Jordan A. Fanney, Esq. is a Virginia Beach divorce and family law attorney who works for Poole Brooke Plumlee PC. Jordan Fanney practices family law in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Hampton, Newport News and the surrounding area.
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