While the law in Illinois provides only one legal reason for getting a divorce, we all know that there are countless factors that may contribute to a couple calling it quits. Similarly, there are many ways that a divorce proceeding can be handled. You and your spouse could attempt to cover all of the issues yourself and present your agreement to the court. Alternatively, you could engage in mediation or other methods of alternative dispute resolution, or you and your attorney could meet with your spouse and his or her attorney to negotiate the details. If that fails, your case would likely be headed for the courtroom where the judge would make the final decisions.
No matter which type of divorce process you choose—or are forced into by your spouse—it is important to have an experienced legal professional at your side. But, how do you choose the right lawyer? If you are considering a divorce, there are several things you should keep in mind when selecting an attorney.
Qualifications and Experience
The attorney you choose for divorce must be qualified to handle the uniquely sensitive issues of family law. Simply having a law degree and a license to practice is not enough. There are plenty of lawyers in finance, international business, and other areas who have never handled a divorce case. This is important because the ability to understand the law is only part of the equation. Your attorney should also be familiar with the local court system and common precedents used in matters of family law.
Disposition and Strategy
You will also need to decide what type of personality you are looking for in a divorce lawyer. Just as in any profession, some attorneys are more contentious and confrontational by nature. These characteristics may come in handy during litigation, but may not be well-suited for an amicable, negotiated divorce.
It is also important that your attorney be willing to listen to you and let you steer your own case, within reason. He or she should caution you against making big mistakes, but if you are willing to make carefully considered compromises to allow the case to move faster, your attorney should not attempt to convince you to fight for every inch.
Personality and Trust
Depending on the circumstances and the complexity of your case, you may need to interact with your attorney on a regular basis for a number of months or longer. This means that you must be able to get along well enough with him or her to establish trust. If your lawyer comes across as condescending, dismissive, or rude, it will strain your relationship with him or her and make the entire process more difficult. You deserve representation from an attorney who is personable, approachable, and who will treat you with respect.
Last, but certainly not least, there is the issue of money. The attorney you choose should be upfront about the expected costs associated with your case. In a divorce, there is virtually no way to predict every possible situation that may arise so a dollar-specific estimate is not reasonable. But if your lawyer has handled many divorce cases, he or she should be able to give you an idea of what your case will likely cost. If your attorney is making definitive promises or—on the other end of the spectrum—avoids all talk about fees, you should probably consider looking elsewhere.
Call Our Office Today
At Kezy & Associates, we are proud to provide responsible, client-focused representation to individuals and families throughout the region. We stand behind the services we offer, and we welcome your questions and concerns. If you are facing a divorce or any family law matter, contact one of our Orland Park divorce attorneys. Call 708-518-8200 for a free, no-obligation consultation at any of our three office locations.