In some ways, meeting with an attorney is similar to a trip to the doctor. When you see a doctor, you usually already know what questions you plan to ask, and are ready to describe your symptoms in great detail so that he or she can properly diagnose the problem. For an attorney to give you an informed legal assessment of your particular case, you’ll need to approach your meeting in the same way. The following are some tips in preparing for your initial legal consultation:

1. Make a list of your questions. People who come in without a list inevitably realize afterwards they forgot to ask something important;

2. Bring all legal documents that you’ve received from the court, another attorney, or the opposing party (such as a Petition for Divorce, Temporary Restraining Order, or Waiver of Service). If you’ve already filed any documents yourself, you should bring those as well;

3. If you plan to discuss dividing your property or child support, bring your recent financial statements, tax returns and paystubs; and

4. Bring any other documents that you believe may be relevant to your case…it never hurts to be over-prepared (such as emails between you and your spouse, criminal records, pictures, etc.).

With these tips, you can relax. A good attorney should be able to answer your questions, and help you evaluate the next steps.