When you come in for your initial consultation to begin the PA or NJ divorce process, we will ask you questions to determine our strategic direction. At that time we will also collect a lot of documentation from you to start charting our course.
Our first priority is to get to know you and your objectives.
- What are some expectations or goals you have? Full custody, child support, spousal support?
- What are some of your non-negotiables? The family business, the family home, the pension?
- What are you willing to negotiate? This may be a more difficult question to answer since you most likely do not have a clear understanding of the divorce and settlement process. We will explain the process to you. We will also give you some examples of negotiation principles that may help you determine where you would be willing to negotiate in a settlement.
- Do you have a pre-nuptial agreement? Did you own property or incur loans or debt prior to marriage? Have you received any significant gifts in your name?
These and other big-picture questions will help us develop a strategy that will benefit you and any children you may have. Therefore, it helps to give these questions some thought ahead of time.
We will also need a number of documents from you in order to begin the process. This will help us get a clear picture of your financial, legal, and marital situation. A partial list of helpful documentation includes:
- Personal data: birth certificate; marriage license; life insurance and healthcare insurance policies; employment information and income; will and living will or advanced directive; power of attorney; pre-nuptial agreement
- Financial data: complete list of assets (bank accounts, investments, pensions, and value of homes, cars, personal property like jewelry, furniture, etc); expenses (all bills, loans, mortgages, etc.); income tax returns for the past several years; list of assets or expenses retained singly before marriage or given to an individual as a gift after marriage (both spouses)
- Childcare data: costs of childcare, evidence of each parent’s involvement in the child’s upbringing (involvement in school, sports, etc.) for custody settlement; records indicating special needs of a child which could affect custody or child support
Based on the initial consultation, we will discuss how quickly we can begin the filing proceedings. We may discover in our meeting other important documentation or outstanding questions that we need in order to strengthen your position. In that case, try to provide the necessary information as soon as possible. Doing so will allow us to help you move through the court system or mediation process quickly.
Our goal at Martine, Katz Scanlon & Schimmel, P.A. is to guide you through your divorce, mediation, or child custody/child support case with as little stress and as much peace and success as possible. Call us today to schedule an appointment.