Making the Most of the 30 Minute Consultation with the Referred Family Law Attorney

Time marches on, quickly for some, slowly for others. When referred by the Santa Barbara
Lawyer Referral Service to a family law attorney for a 30 minute consultation, it’s wise to make
the most of that time.

Consider your divorce case consultation, for example. Do you have minor children? Will
support for those children or support from/for your spouse be an issue also? Do you have an
ownership interest in a business? Is that business a sole proprietorship or some other form that
may have other owners besides yourself and your spouse? What about real property? How is it
titled? Do you and your spouse have a family trust? These are the types of issues that you may
wish to have the answers to before meeting with the family law attorney.

It’s helpful to bring your most recently-filed tax return (and corporation returns if filed
separately). Pay-stubs for you and your spouse are also helpful if you are both wage-earning
employees. Your tax return and a working knowledge of the cash flow you and your spouse may
enjoy (or not as the case may be) can be great tools in providing you with a ballpark figure of
what spousal support payable to you or by you might look like so you can prepare yourself
accordingly. Yes, you’ll need to begin thinking in terms of budget, both for you and your new
household, which may or may not include minor children.

If you have any type of co-parenting relationship with your spouse regarding your minor
child(ren), be prepared to articulate the amount of time your child(ren) spends in each spouse’s
care and what the custody or visitation arrangement (if there is one in place) looks like on a wall
calendar. While it’s important to have a percentage of time your child spends with you in mind
for purposes of calculating child support, saying “I want/have 50% custody” really doesn’t lay
out the day-to-day in your post-separation life, particularly in your child(ren)’s new normal.
Maybe one of the most useful documents you can bring is a chronology of events leading up to
and after your separation. If you have this typed up, bring a copy for the attorney to follow
along and make notes, as necessary.

In making the appointment, the attorney might request these and other documents. The above
is just intended as suggestions to get you thinking about the issues you may wish to discuss in
the 30 minute consultation. Come prepared to make the most of that time!

Please contact the Santa Barbara County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service to find a
lawyer to help with your legal issue or to find out if you have a viable legal issue – (805) -569-