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Category: Family Law Finances

What to Expect During a Chicago Divorce Consultation

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Written by Jessica Mansbacher Kibbe on 3.19.24

Once you have made the decision to part ways with your spouse, you will need to choose an attorney to help you along the way. You will likely schedule consultations with a few different family law attorneys, and you will use this time to learn more about the process and determine which legal professional will be the best fit for you and your unique circumstances.

Divorce Attorneys are Not One-Size-Fits-All

Your divorce consultation serves as an opportunity for you to assess the attorney’s competence, experience, and compatibility with your needs and values. Ask your attorney about your case, but also ask them about their practice. How many attorneys work at the firm? Will they be personally handling your case, or will it be someone else? What are the firm’s guiding principles?

Trust is the cornerstone of the attorney-client relationship, and it is essential for clients to feel confident in their attorney’s ability to advocate effectively on their behalf. Make sure that you feel comfortable speaking with your attorney because you will be interacting with them a lot in the coming months. And if you have doubts, trust your gut and look elsewhere.

Be Prepared to Have a Productive Conversation

Arriving prepared for your first consultation with a divorce attorney can greatly facilitate the process and ensure that you make the most of the meeting. While every case is unique and may require additional documentation depending on individual circumstances, here are some essential items that prospective divorce clients should consider bringing to their initial consultation:

  • ID: Bring a valid form of identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, to verify your identity.
  • Marriage Certificate: Provide a copy of your marriage certificate to confirm the existence and date of the marriage.
  • Financial Documents: Gather relevant financial records and documentation, including:
    • Bank statements for joint and individual accounts
    • Tax returns for the past few years
    • Pay stubs or other proof of income for both spouses
    • Documentation of any assets, such as real estate, vehicles, investments, or retirement accounts
    • Documentation of any debts, such as mortgages, loans, or credit card balances
  • Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreements: If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place, bring a copy of the document to the consultation.
  • Documentation of Marital Issues: If there are specific issues you wish to discuss, such as instances of domestic violence, infidelity, or substance abuse, bring any relevant documentation or evidence to support your claims.
  • Child-Related Documentation: If children are involved, bring documentation related to child custody arrangements, if any, and existing child support payments or agreements.
  • List of Questions and Concerns: Prepare a list of questions and concerns you would like to discuss during the consultation. This can help ensure that you cover all relevant topics and make the most of your time with the attorney.
  • Any Relevant Court Documents: If any legal proceedings, such as previous divorce filings or orders of protection, are ongoing or have occurred in the past, bring copies of any relevant court documents.

By gathering these essential documents and materials before your consultation, you can provide your attorney with the necessary information to assess your case and provide informed legal advice. Additionally, arriving prepared demonstrates your commitment to the process and can help streamline the consultation.

Take a Deep Breath

When the day of the consultation arrives, it is natural to feel a mix of emotions, ranging from apprehension to relief at finally taking the first step toward divorce. Rest assured, a reputable attorney will create a welcoming and non-judgmental atmosphere, fostering open communication and trust from the outset. Confidentiality is paramount, and clients can freely discuss their circumstances knowing that their information is safeguarded, even during a consultation.

During the consultation, the attorney will seek a comprehensive understanding of the client’s situation. This entails delving into the reasons for seeking a divorce, any pertinent background information, and the client’s desired outcomes. Honesty and transparency are vital during this exchange, as it enables the attorney to formulate a tailored legal strategy aligned with the client’s objectives.

The attorney will provide an overview of the divorce process, including the various stages and timelines involved. The attorney will touch on important matters, such as asset division, spousal maintenance, child custody, and child support.

Move Forward With a Competent and Compassionate Divorce Attorney in Chicago

By the conclusion of the consultation, the client will have gained invaluable insights into the divorce process and a clear roadmap for moving forward. The attorney may provide recommendations for next steps, which may include additional documentation to gather, mediation, or the initiation of formal legal proceedings.

A Chicago divorce consultation is a pivotal step in the journey toward dissolution of marriage, offering individuals the opportunity to gain clarity, guidance, and empowerment during what can be a challenging time. Reach out to the skilled and compassionate attorneys of O. Long Law, LLC, in Evanston, IL, to schedule your consultation.

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