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Preparing for Your Initial Consultation

Any step in a divorce can be stressful. Yet preparation can be the key to reducing this stress. If you come prepared to your initial consultation with a Los Angeles divorce attorney, you can better understand the legal issues you face and make informed decisions.

What to Expect During a Divorce Case Consultation

At Castellanos & Associates, APLC, we want the details of your free attorney consultation to remain privileged, so we ask that you attend the consultation alone. While we understand that support is important in a difficult time, we want to make sure that the attorney-client privilege is not lost by revealing confidential information to a third party. Ethical rules prohibit us from routinely accepting inquiries or taking direction from a third party.

How long will the consultation last?

Every case is different, but you can expect your initial consultation to last up to 60 minutes. In preparation for your meeting with one of our attorneys, we would ask you to complete the appropriate forms in advance.

Do you speak Spanish?

Then with our firm, you can find a Spanish speaking divorce attorney in Los Angeles. At Castellanos & Associates, APLC our managing partner is fluent in Spanish and can discuss your divorce, child custody, or other family law concern with you.

Important Documents to Gather

If you are considering divorce, you should begin the process of gathering some essential documents. This will help you prepare the financial statements and other disclosure forms typically required in the divorce process. You should probably bring some of these documents to the initial meeting.

Some of the most important documents to bring to your initial consultation include:

  • Income tax returns. You will want to copy any completed personal, corporate, partnership, joint venture, or other income tax returns (federal, state, local), including W-2 forms, 1099′s, and K-1 forms, in your possession or control for at least the past 3 years. If possible, going back 5 years, including obtaining any amended tax returns is best.
  • Business financial statements such as a net worth statement (balance sheet or list of assets and liabilities) or an income statement (cash flow or income and expense statement. Once again, you should make copies of these statements and return all originals to where they are typically maintained.
  • Loan applications dating back at least 5 years.
  • Charge account statements going back at least 5 years.
  • Automobile records. Any and all financial agreements, loans, etc. for all motor vehicles during the past 5 years.
  • Partnership or joint venture agreements since the date of the marriage.
  • Personal injury awards since the date of the marriage.
  • List of personal property owned before the marriage and any personal property acquired during the marriage by gift or inheritance.
  • Income information. You should attempt to secure current income information for yourself and your spouse. This should include payroll stubs and any other evidence you may have that would prove or establish income (for example, investment property, rental/lease agreements, dividends, interest, royalties, etc.)
  • Personal property tax returns filed in California or anywhere else since the date of your marriage.
  • Banking information for you and your spouse. All monthly banking statements, check registers, deposit slips, cancelled checks for personal and business accounts. You should also include CD (certificate of deposit) accounts, money market and retirement accounts from banking, savings and loan, credit unions, or any other institution where you and your spouse may be maintaining or have an interest in funds held there.

The list above is not a complete list but is meant to get you started. Gathering these documents together will give you some further guidance on what other important documents you should collect if you are considering a legal separation or divorce.

Lastly, we understand you may be overwhelmed and the last thing you want to do is fill out a bunch of forms. However, please keep in mind if you take the time to prepare and allow us to review these documents in advance of your meeting, you will not be wasting valuable time in a consultation by having us look at and interpret documents in the meeting rather than talk to you.


Have you scheduled your appointment yet? If not, set up your free consultation with a Los Angeles divorce attorney today!


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