Does your law firm have complimentary consultations?
Yes, by appointment only (either via telephone or in person.)
What counties does your firm practice in?
Cook County (including Richard J. Daley Center, Skokie and Rolling Meadows courthouses), DuPage County, Will County, Kane and Kendall counties.
Can your firm represent my spouse and I to save money in attorney fees and costs?
No, one law firm cannot represent both parties in an adversarial lawsuit. It is a conflict of interest and against the Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
How much will it cost to obtain a divorce?
This is a very difficult question to answer. The final costs of a divorce can range between extremely reasonable to very expensive and time consuming. The determining factors can include issues such as: financial disputes, complex accounting and dissipation matters, custody litigation and evaluations, and other contested matters that must be litigated through the court.
Do I really need a lawyer?
It is highly recommended that a party involved in any kind of domestic relations litigation, i.e. dissolution, paternity, custody and support have the benefit of an attorney experienced in domestic relations law represent their interests. If however, a party chooses to represent themselves, the court will hold that litigant to the same standard of knowledge as a State of Illinois licensed attorney.
Will any type of lawyer work?
If you are contemplating a divorce or any other family law action, it is always helpful to ask friends, neighbors, or relatives for a possible referral. Attorneys that have experience in family law matters are always a better choice. You would not hire an attorney who specializes in real estate closings to represent your interests in a personal injury lawsuit.
Why does an attorney require a retainer?
Generally, most attorneys require an upfront retainer to secure payment of legal fees and expenses. Said retainer monies may be withdrawn by the attorney as fees are earned and expenses incurred. After the legal matter has been resolved, money that is left over, if any, is returned to the client via check.
What is the divorce process like?
Divorce litigation is completely driven by the clients, the respective attorneys, and the facts that the parties bring to the litigation. On one end of the spectrum, the parties may be able to reach complete agreements with little or no aid from the attorneys or the courts. At the other end of the spectrum, the parties may experience complete chaos with multiple court hearings and an ultimate trial. Generally most cases fall within the middle of this spectrum.
In society today, more parties are reaching out to mediators and collaborative law services in an attempt to resolve their issues with little or no court interference. Attorneys are still required to finalize the documents that will be filed with the court.
How much will it cost to obtain a divorce?
This is a very difficult question to answer. The final costs in a divorce action may include attorney’s fees, childrens’ attorney fees, expert fees, court reporting fees, transcripts, evaluations, subpoenas, filing fees, and copy costs. The determining factors may include issues such as: discovery compliance, complex accounting, custody litigation, evaluations, and other contested matters that must be litigated through the court.
How and what types of assets are divided in a divorce?
All marital property has the ability and obligation to be divided. Martial property is described as any type of property that is obtained during the marriage. This may include property such as the family home, second home, furniture, appliances, artwork, vehicles, investments, retirement accounts, or privately owned businesses.
There are intangible properties that may also be divided. This can range from a patent, value of professional degree obtained by spouse, or the value of a name. This type of property can divided if the spouse has made to a contribution of the value, directly or indirectly.
How can alimony (spousal support) be awarded?
The financial obligation to each spouse does not end when the divorce is finished. Alimony is very important in divorces that will leave one spouse with little to no income after the divorce is settled. In this circumstance, the court will almost always grant alimony payments, at least temporarily.
Spousal support used to be strictly for stay-at-home wives that had no money or means of obtaining money. The court would grant the wife payments by the wage earning husband. Today it is very different. Alimony can go to either spouse and is not limited to the wives.
How is the custody of a child decided?
Illinois courts take a heightened interest in child custody litigation. The Illinois Supreme Court mandates parents to resolve any and all custody issues within a matter of eighteen months. Parents are ordered to attend mediation with trained and licensed individuals in an effort to resolve the delicate issues of custody, residential parent, parenting times with the non-residential parent, vacations, holiday schedules and general parenting guidelines.
The use of the term “custody” has nothing to do with the physical possession of the minor children. Joint and sole custody are defined as whether both parents have an equal voice (joint custody) in major decision-making, or one parent is making all of the major decisions (sole custody). In the event that the parent cannot reach an amicable agreement with the aid of a mediator, then the court may appoint an attorney to represent the children’s interests. Mental health evaluations may be conducted on the parents to determine the parents’ fitness for custody.
How is child support calculated?
Child support guidelines are governed by 750 ILCS 5/505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Illinois is a percentage guideline state, whereas the number of children governs the percentage of child support to be paid to the residential parent. However, if application of the guideline percentage amount is inappropriate in a particular case, the court may consider a “deviation” above or below percentage guideline amounts to meet the best interest of the children.
Can my child support payments ever change?
Child support payments are always modifiable. There may be certain circumstances that warrant a change in support, i.e. increases/decreases in income of the obligor parent, or changes in the child’s needs. Parties must modify the existing court orders to reflect the change in child support. It is never wise to just verbally agree between the parties to modify child support. The modification of child support must be memorialized in a court order in order for the court to enforce it.
I am mentally drained from this divorce, what can I do?
Relax. The divorce process can be mentally and physically draining. It is recommended to focus on activities that are able to take away the stress such as exercising or yoga. There is no reason to worry. Your experienced attorney will do everything in his or her power to make sure a fair and balanced agreement can be reached.