Finding a sincere and trustworthy attorney is not always easy. You might search online or ask friends and family for a referral. Once you have a name of someone you believe is right for your situation, you have to get through the first consultation. Thinking about divorce is hard enough, but it becomes much more real when you sit down with a divorce lawyer. Consider the following topics to discuss in your initial meeting:
Your attorney cannot give you relevant legal advice without understanding your current situation. He or she will need to know:
- Whether you are already separated or are thinking of doing so;
- Whether you have spoken with your spouse about divorce;
- Where you live;
- Where your spouse lives;
- If you have children, their ages and where they live;
- How childcare is provided when the children are not with a parent or at school;
- Your children’s health or any special needs;
- Your employment situation; and
- Your spouse’s employment situation.
Litigation Versus Collaboration
Not every divorce is a contentious experience. Let your attorney know how you and your spouse are handling the situation, if you have already talked about it. Your attorney needs to know whether to prepare for an Illinois collaborative divorce or whether he or she is heading into a battle.
Talking about money and property can be uncomfortable; however, the size of your estate greatly affects your divorce. If you married later in life, and both you and your spouse had a significant amount of personal property, then there may be arguments over what should be considered marital property.
If you are a high net worth couple, there are often tax and business considerations. In some situations, high net worth individuals are better able to hide or waste assets, and your attorney will need to motion to protect certain property. He or she may also advise using a forensic accountant to make sure money, property, or real estate is not hidden from you.
Additionally, if you lack information about your marriage’s finances, your attorney needs to know. Your attorney may have to use the discovery process to gather information regarding marital assets or even hire a forensic accountant to review your finances.
Violence, Emotional Abuse, or Drug Use
It can be difficult to discuss sensitive topics with someone you have only just begun to work with, but your lawyer must know about any violence, abuse, drug or alcohol use—including your own. Your attorney needs all relevant information about your family situation to ensure he or she protects your rights and serves you and your children’s best interests.
If domestic violence is an issue, your attorney can seek a protective order. If your spouse is addicted to drugs or alcohol, your attorney may gather evidence of this to use when you seek parental responsibility and time—more commonly known as custody.
Contact an Illinois Divorce Attorney
No one walks down the aisle imaging they will get divorced one day, but dissolving a marriage is often the best way to move forward with your life. Meeting with a skilled DuPage County divorce attorney can be hard, but the first conversation is the time to tell your attorney your situation and be honest about what you do or do not know.