I’m Abby Stolfe, a divorce and family law attorney with Stolfe Zeigler New Jersey Law Group. I'm here with Desiree to explain to you what to expect when you attend a divorce consultation.
WATCH: Family law attorney Abigale M. Stolfe of Stolfe Zeigler New Jersey Divorce Group explains what is covered in an initial divorce consultation.
A lot of people who call us at Stolfe Zeigler are very nervous about what to say, what to bring, how to act during a divorce consultation. It's a nerve-racking time for anyone whether you're a man or a woman, whether you're asking for the divorce or responding to a divorce. The purpose of this video is to help you sit through a divorce consultation so you can better understand what a divorce consultation looks like, how it could feel and the type of information you would be expected to know.
Desiree is going to be our wife who wants a consultation in order to divorce her husband. I'm going to ask her the basic questions that we would ask in a divorce consultation and give her the basic information we would provide at the end of a divorce consultation. This will help you to understand not only what to expect in the questioning, but also what to expect and what not to expect at the conclusion of the consultation.
Watch the video as I ask Desiree the questions that I typically ask in a divorce consultation, listen to her responses and follow our conversation to understand what does - and doesn’t - happen in an initial divorce consultation.
- Basic information about the couple, where they live, when they married, their children
- Income, assets, do you own your home, what is your mortgage, how did you pay for your home
- Do you jointly own your property, a business or other assets
- Parenting time, custody, financial support, schedules, and goals
- New Jersey wage support guidelines and how they impact your parenting goals
During most divorce consultations, we dive a little bit deeper in order to absorb more facts and to give you better information. Notice Desiree:
- Did not have her tax return
- Did not have her pay stub
- Did not have the exact value of her house
She did not have a lot of the concrete financials that we would need in order to conclude a divorce.
But the purpose of a consultation is really just to give the attorney a sense of what your case looks like and what needs to be done generally speaking. They can then guide you like I did here with Desiree, into some avenues that she needs to explore a little deeper and some information that she needs to gather for the next meeting or for the first four-way conference on her matter.
The point of a consultation is not for you to leave the room knowing exactly how your matter will turn out or what the end result will be. We cannot tell you what the parenting time is definitively going to be, what the child support is going to be according to the state guidelines, what exact amount is he going to get for the house. That is not the point of a consultation.
What you really want to gather from the consultation is:
- Did you feel comfortable with the lawyer that you were sitting with?
- How does the law firm operate?
- Did they ask you the questions that you felt were pertinent?
- Did they ask you questions that you never thought of and therefore were really pertinent because you didn't even know to ask?
You want to make sure when you leave that office that you have an understanding of who you'll be working with, how the firm works and operates and who you would contact if you have any questions. What I recommend before you go into a divorce consultation is not necessarily gathering a to-the-penny idea of what your assets are worth, but instead gathering a list of questions that are important to you.
This is an emotional time, and you are struggling with the emotions of the divorce and separation. This is the time to ask, who can I talk to?
- Do you recommend a therapist?
- Do you recommend a parent coordinator?
- Who are the people that you recommend?
In that moment, it does not matter how much the weekly child support is, or what the parenting schedule is going to be like. The crux of Desiree’s conversation was, “what am I doing about this house?” That is what was most important to her.
If you want a divorce consultation, if you need basic information, or if you're just investigating what a divorce could look like in your situation, please do not hesitate to contact us at Stolfe Zeigler.
We look forward to helping you #ProtectWhatMattersMost.
To schedule an initial consultation with a member of our divorce and family law team, please do not hesitate to contact us at (732) 240.9555 or (856) 812.9020.