The Initial Lawyer/Client Divorce Conference
Your first consultation with a lawyer is about exchanging information and obtaining advise. You should have a clear idea of the information and advice you want from the lawyer to make the most use of the conference.
For what reasons do people seek an initial consultation with a lawyer about a divorce?
Most people seeking a consultation do not intend to initiate a divorce immediately, or have not yet been served with divorce papers. All initial inquiries, however, have a common element: at least one of the parties believes there are troubles with the marriage.
Studies show that the spouse who has files for divorce does not make a snap decision. Instead, this decision usually occurs over perhaps a year or two. It is rare that both spouses come to the same decision at the same time. So, one first question that a divorce lawyer will look into is whether the marriage really is dead. If there are possibilities that the marriage might not be completely broken, a divorce lawyer can provide resources including marriage counselors, individual counselors and the like.
What is the first usual question if a divorce has already been filed?
The first question question may be: “What are my rights, or my obligations, if there is a divorce?” This is a good starting place. A divorce is a new and strange place. You are rightfully concerned about the future of the children and your financial future if there is a divorce. You should be seeking an evaluation of your situation, that is, a projection of the likely outcome in regard to the children and finances if there is a divorce. We seek to provide a variety of basic information within this website to provide you with a starting palace for discussions with your lawyer.
What subjects should be covered in the initial consultation?
If children are involved, they are the first consideration both financially and in terms of how parenting time and parental responsibility (major decision making) are allocated. Contested cases regarding parenting time and decision-making are not common. There is also the issue of child support. The next financial issue is whether there will be maintenance (alimony). The third area you will discuss with your lawyer is the laws relating to division of assets.
There are other areas, in divorce cases, such as:
- Relocation of children outside of certain areas within Illinois or out of state relocation
- The obligation for post-high school education of children
- Sometimes the subject of domestic violence must be discussed
Will the first conference address collaborative divorce versus traditional adversarial divorce?
If this is an initial divorce, there is no history of domestic violence, and traditional “adversarial lawyers” have not already filed an appearance, consider the collaborative divorce option. Discuss with your lawyer the pros and cons of this form of representation. If the parties can work together, collaborative divorce can be a less expensive and more respectful process than traditional adversarial divorce. Consider asking whether collaborative divorce and whether it is “right for you.” The lawyers of the Gitlin Law Firm are trained in collaborative practices as well as having extensive experience as in-the-trenches trial lawyers.