50 Old Courthouse Square, Suite 601 Santa Rosa, CA 95404


Retaining a divorce attorney is a critical component of a successful divorce case. However, while the role of your experienced Santa Rosa CA divorce attorney is to represent your interests throughout your divorce proceedings, you still must take some measures to ensure that your attorney has all the information necessary to represent you properly. As a result, when you are scheduled to meet with your divorce attorney, you can take some simple steps to prepare yourself for that meeting and provide your lawyer with information crucial to your divorce case.

When you fully participate in your case preparation, a divorce lawyer from Evans Kingsbury LLP can focus on protecting your interests and advocating on your behalf. Contact our offices today at (707) 596-6090 and learn more about the implications of precedent for your civil case.

Gather Documentation of Your Income and Assets

As part of your divorce proceedings, you must complete standardized forms, including the Schedule of Assets and Debts and Income and Expense Declaration. These forms require you to provide detailed information and documentation of your income, expenses, and assets.

    The required information about your income will include the following:
  • • Information about your monthly income, including:
  • • Your gross income last month and average monthly salary or wages;
  • • Any overtime;
  • • Any commissions and bonuses;
  • • Spousal or partner support;
  • • Pension or retirement benefits;
  • • Disability benefits;
  • • Unemployment or worker’s compensation;
  • • Investment income; and
  • • Self-employment income after business expenses.
    Likewise, you must document these forms of income you receive, such as providing copies of:
  • • Paycheck stubs for the previous two months;
  • • Documentation showing proof of receipt of other types of income;
  • • Schedules showing gross receipts minus cash expenses for each piece of investment property;
  • • Profit and loss statements for the past two years for each business owned or a Schedule C from the most recent federal income tax return; and
  • • All tax returns filed for the past two years.
    You will need similar information about and documentation of your monthly expenses, including the following:
  • • Rent/mortgage payments, including a breakdown of principal/interest;
  • • Real property taxes, homeowner’s insurance premiums, and maintenance and repair costs;
  • • Uninsured health care costs;
  • • Childcare expenses;
  • • Food and household supplies;
  • • Eating out;
  • • Utilities;
  • • Phones and email service;
  • • Laundry and cleaning;
  • • Clothing;
  • • Education;
  • • Entertainment, gifts, and vacation;
  • • Vehicle and transportation expenses;
  • • Life and accident insurance;
  • • Savings and investments;
  • • Charitable contributions;
  • • Attorney’s fees; and
  • • Installment debts that do not fall into other categories.
    Next, you will need to list and provide documentation as to the value of any assets that you own, whether owned together with your spouse, solely by you, or jointly with another person, such as the following:
  • • Bank accounts;
  • • Stocks, bonds, secured notes, and mutual funds;
  • • Real estate (fair market value minus debts that you owe);
  • • Personal property, including:
    • • Household furnishings and appliances;
    • • Jewelry, antiques, and coin collections;
    • • Vehicles, boats, and trailers;
  • • Cash;
  • • Tax refunds;
  • • Life insurance policies with cash surrender or loan value;
  • • Retirement plans and pensions; and
  • • Partnerships and other business interests.
    Finally, you will need to list and give detailed information about your debts, including the latest statements related to the accounts:
  • • Student loans;
  • • Taxes;
  • • Support arrearages;
  • • Unsecured loans;
  • • Credit cards; and
  • • Any other debts.

You can provide substantial assistance to your lawyer by having this information organized and available at the outset of your divorce proceedings.

Compile Information About Your Spouse

Just as your divorce attorney needs information about you, your attorney also needs information about your spouse. You should be prepared to provide detailed information and documentation, if possible, about your spouse’s background, education, place of employment, salary, and benefits.

Consider Your Goals for Your Divorce

Take some time and consider what issues are most important to you in your divorce and what your best possible outcome might look like. For instance, your main concern may be to get through your divorce in as calm and efficient a manner as possible, with the least amount of disruption to the lives of your children. If that is the case, then a protracted battle over financial matters is not likely what you want to pursue.

Likewise, if your sole priority is to get custody of your children, you may be willing to make significant concessions in other areas of your divorce to reach that goal. While your attorney will advise you of your legal rights, it is ultimately your decision about what matters most to you in your divorce, and what type of settlement you are willing to accept.

Prepare a List of Questions to Ask Your Divorce Attorney

As you face divorce proceedings, you will likely have many questions about your rights and what you can expect. Instead of emailing or calling your lawyer every time you have a question, you can be more efficient by keeping a running list of questions you have for your lawyer. Then, as you prepare for your meeting, you can review those questions to determine if you have already received answers to those questions. Maintaining a list of questions also ensures that you do not forget to ask important questions of your lawyer during your meeting.

    Some possible questions that you may have for your Santa Rosa, CA divorce attorney might include:
  • • How long is my divorce going to take?
  • • How much can I expect to pay if I hire you for my divorce?
  • • Will I get everything I want in my divorce?
  • • What about our house? Do I get to keep it?
  • • Who pays the bills while our divorce is going on?
    Furthermore, if you share children with your spouse, you might have the following questions:
  • • What are standard custody and visitation arrangements for my children at their ages?
  • • My spouse is threatening to get custody. Will he be successful?
  • • Can I get supervised visitation for my children?
  • • Is joint custody something that I really need to consider?
  • • Will my spouse have to pay child support, and if so, how much?

These are just a few major issues you should consider in preparing for a meeting with your divorce attorney. If you are unsure of your goals or your available options concerning some of these issues, you may need to ask your lawyer to describe the options available to you.

Call a Divorce Attorney at Evans Kingsbury LLP Today

Dissolutions and family law cases are among the most challenging, emotional, and time-consuming cases you can go through. The assistance of an experienced Santa Rosa, CA divorce attorney can be crucial to a positive outcome in your case. Contact Evans Kingsbury LLP today by calling (707) 596-6090 or visiting us online, and learn more about how we can assist you with your family law case.

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