A guide to your first meeting with a family solicitor
We understand that the first meeting with a family solicitor can feel daunting, so we have made a checklist of things to bring and information to gather ahead of the first meeting. If you come prepared with as much information as possible, your solicitor will be able to build up a full picture of your situation and be in the best position to advise you on the next steps you can take.
The law requires your solicitor to verify your identity before opening a file for you. You will need to bring with you one form of photographic ID (such as a current photo driving license or passport) and one form of address evidence (such as a utility bill or bank statement showing your address) no more than three months old. Your solicitor will take copies at your meeting which will reduce any delay in opening your file. If you are meeting your solicitor remotely, they will be able to let you know how you can provide this information to them in advance. At GL we offer clients the option of providing this through a third-party verification website for ease.
Your solicitor is likely to ask you questions about the history of your matter and it can be difficult to remember important dates when you are put on the spot. It is helpful to make a note of the following dates in advance, so you are ready with your answers during your meeting:
- When you began living together
- Your marriage
- Your separation
- The dates of birth of yourself, your spouse and your children
- Any other relevant dates i.e. when you purchased your property or other assets or inherited money.
Details of your finances
To advise you as fully as possible it is helpful to have an idea in advance of your financial position. Where possible it is helpful to bring statements or other documents (as long as these are in your name not your spouse’s) but if you do not have these to hand it is useful to have a rough idea of the value of the following:
- Any property including the balance outstanding on any mortgages
- Savings and investments
- Business assets
- Any other assets with a significant value i.e. expensive jewellery, cars, caravans, paintings etc
Details of your income
You solicitor will also ask you details about yours and your spouse’s incomes. For some people this is easy but for those who are self-employed or have irregular income sources such as bonuses or commission it is helpful to bring any details of your income history. If you have any documents that show your income such as your P60, P11D, tax return or company accounts it can be useful to bring these with you. Whilst your solicitor will not be able to look at documents in your spouse’s name it is helpful if possible, to have an idea of roughly what they bring home each year after tax and national insurance.
Any letters or documents already received.
If your spouse has already been to see a solicitor, you may have received a letter from them or even a divorce petition from the court. It is important that you bring these with you to your first meeting so that your solicitor can properly advise you and taken prompt action if necessary.
If Court Orders have already been made it is important that you bring these with you.
Legal advice at your first meeting with a family solicitor
The point of your first meeting is to find out where you stand legally and explore your best options for moving forward. To find out more and book your first meeting please call 0117 906 9400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to make a start online, you can complete this questionnaire for a personalised information guide.