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Category Archives: Family Law

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2 weeks ago Family Law

5 Signs of a Bad Family Law Attorney

Things have to be pretty serious for you to need to hire a family law attorney. We often choose attorneys because they are sympathetic, a good listener, or come with good recommendations. However, these traits aren’t enough, and some good traits in excess can be bad for your case. One of the worst mistakes you can make is choosing a bad attorney. Here are five signs of a bad family law attorney.

5 Signs of a Bad Family Law AttorneyToo Emotional

You want an attorney who listens to your case and sympathizes with your plight. However, it is a serious problem if the attorney is too empathetic. 

After all, you don’t want a doctor who is so torn up at the sight of your pain they can’t help you. The same is true of your attorney. Don’t work with an attorney who calls your spouse names, uses inflammatory language or engages in other unprofessional behavior. Only work with an attorney who is objective about your case.

Dismissive

Good family lawyers will practice empathetic listening. Your attorney should outline the work you’ll need to do like produce documents, give depositions and review court documents.

An attorney may subtly indicate their poor opinion of you in other ways. It may be glancing at their watch repeatedly. It may be saying that you shouldn’t call them, they’ll call or email you when there is finally a reason to do so. In contrast, a good attorney will keep you updated on your case and educate you about what is going on.

Critical

An attorney who is too critical, whether of you or other attorneys, should be avoided. If they’re critical of other attorneys, this gets in the way of working with them. However, it isn’t unreasonable for an attorney to be critical of lying and cheating in a client. In fact, an attorney who overlooks bad behavior like this while making grand promises is probably going to take the case and run with it until you run out of money.

Sets Unrealistic Expectations

An attorney can give estimates. For example, it is reasonable to estimate how much you’ll have to pay in child support based on your income. The warning sign is the attorney who guarantees results. The attorney can share what percentage of cases they win and give a rough estimate of the odds they’ll win in your case. However, the outcomes are not certain and often not even clear. On the flip side, an attorney who won’t give you their opinion regarding the merits of your case or the possibility you’ll win is doing you a disservice.

Firms like Sue Wilson Family Law, for instance, will help you fight for the best outcome. This may be making your voice heard, settling the divorce fairly and quickly, adjusting child support and alimony or coming to an agreement on child custody.

Gives You a Hard Sale

The good attorney’s reputation and demeanor will make their case. This is why an attorney giving you a hard sale is a red flag

Any attorney giving you unrealistic expectations and promising everything should also be taken as warnings. If they say they can get anything and everything you want, leave. An attorney who has to argue that they are qualified to take your case should be avoided. 

Conclusion

No matter what you’re facing in family court, you can’t afford to hire a bad attorney. With a good one, the process will be as straightforward and painless as possible.

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1 month ago Family Law

What to Do When a House is Not Always a Home

Everybody dreams of having their own homes and families when they grow up – it does not matter what the size, who the spouse, how many children or none at all, how many dogs, cats, or any kind of pet, each and every person has their own vision of how their future family would be like. Most people think that the very first step to having a happy family is owning their very own home, but that is not really the case. This is sad and unfortunate, but it is actually also a reality. There will be days that going back to your house does not necessarily mean going “home”. A house is different than a home. You can have a great house, all fixed up with the most beautiful decorations and the strongest structures, but that does not always equate to having a great home to go arrive to – a home that is peaceful, loving, supportive, and healthy. When this happens, it is not inevitable that there will be problems, disagreements, problems and non-cooperative members of the family. Should this happen, it is advisable that the members of the family affected get family law solicitors that would help everyone involved to settle in an amicable and fair manner.

Empathic Legal Counsel

With family law solicitors, you would not feel that you are talking to a law handbook. It will not cite legalities and technicalities to you without having to explain it in a way that you would empathize with or relate. Most family law solicitors have a sense of compassion toward their clients. Even though they give legal advices, they provide it at a level that their clients would understand – most especially the children involved. Because they have more empathy in the undertakings they do, peaceful settlements are highly achieved that need not be forwarded to a court for further expenses of not only money, but of course time as well. Do not be wary though that these solicitors be too empathic toward you, because they still have a code of conduct to uphold a solicitor thus maintaining a good balance between being a professional yet being someone you could easily approach.

Negotiation for the Common Good

With lawyers, they will fight and negotiate for the betterment of the party he or she is representing. Because each party is represented by their own lawyers with their own agendas, settlements would not be easily achieved because of the clashing wants and needs from both ends. For example, when a couple goes through a divorce and they each hire a lawyer of their own for their settlement, one spouse may opt to one-up each other with the negotiations. This will only be an on-going bantering and exchanges without a compromise. Not only will it waste so much time, but it will also cost a lot of money. And imagine if that couple had children, who would think of their benefit? With family law solicitors, you would be guaranteed that the best settlement for the common good of your family will be discussed and agreed with both parties having a win-win situation – most especially while giving priority to the well-being of the children.

Cost Efficient Based on Your Budget

Legal fees are expensive, especially if you are going through court proceedings or just merely seeking for legal advice on your current situation. Most lawyers have upfront charges and fixed rates that are so ludicrously high that you would lose a lot more if you are going through a divorce just by hiring them. There are legal service providers which have very flexible payment schemes when it comes to their family law solicitors services. It will cater primarily on your budget, how you are able to pay, and just when you avail of their services. Unlike with lawyers who may sometimes have fixed representation schedules, you can pay family law solicitors when you just need them or use their services. This again, highlights the highly empathic quality family law solicitors have, because it is evidently expensive to actually have a family and then to only go to court and fight for it – they understand it and they do not want to make things harder for you.

Support From Start to End

Going through any legal problems relating to the family is not easy. Whether if it is couples going through a divorce, single parents seeking financial claims from their estranged spouses, fighting for the custody of your children, seeking to gain help because of domestic violence, or even before having to start a family and be secured with pre-nuptial agreements – it is tough and overwhelming. When you choose the service of such solicitors, you would not be astounded with the decisions you have to make, or the settlements you want to pursue, because they will be with you every step of the way. After all, you do not have to go through such a tough time in your life alone.

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1 month ago Divorce , Family Law , Laws

Going Through a Divorce?: How to Find the Best Divorce Attorney

Unfortunately, not all marriages work out. If you’re in this situation, then hiring a divorce attorney can help you navigate through this hard time.

Sadly, you aren’t alone. An estimated 40% to 50% of marriages in the United States fail.

This does mean that there will be a divorce lawyer out there who can help.

But how do you find the best one?

Follow the tips below to help with your search.

1. Know What Your Goals Are

What do you want to get out of your divorce?

A divorce is a tricky process. You’re going to be diving up money, assets, and potentially dealing with child custody.

You want to hire someone that knows how to help you achieve your goals. When talking with attorneys, ask about their past cases with situations similar to yours.

If you find someone with a good history of winning, then you increase your chance of a successful outcome.

2. Have a List of Questions

You shouldn’t go into the first meeting with an attorney without preparing. Have a list of questions prepared for them.

These questions should answer a few things:

  • How am I billed?
  • Do you specialize in divorce cases?
  • Will you be the one working on my case?
  • Do you have any conflicts of interest in my case?
  • Have you worked with the opposing attorney before?

The more questions you ask, the better you can judge if an attorney is right for your case.

If you’re ready to start asking questions you can contact divorce attorney, Cynthia Diggs to get your answers.

3. Look for Disciplinary Problems

You don’t want to babysit a problem-child during your divorce. Make sure you research any disciplinary problems a lawyer has had.

You can find this information at your state’s disciplinary board.

While this may not rule out a lawyer completely, it can be a reason to ask more questions.

4. Find Referrals

The best advertising is word of mouth. There’s nothing better than hearing from a past customer that had good results.

Make use of online review sites to see which lawyers in your area are highly rated. Prioritize finding them and getting in touch with them first.

Once you find the set of lawyers you want to work with, ask for referrals from them.

If they provide you this, you can get a first-hand account of what it’s like to work with someone. You’ll be able to learn the good and the bad.

5. Talk in Person First

It’s important to talk to a lawyer in person before hiring. You want to get a sense of the kind of person they are.

You could be working with them for a long time. You want to be sure that their personality matches what you’re looking for in an attorney.

You can also use this time to learn how hands-on they will be in the process.

Do you want someone who will hold your hand or someone that lets you take care of some of the work?

Don’t Rush Into Hiring a Divorce Attorney

Going through a divorce can be a long and tedious process. If you don’t want to make this process worse, then do your research and find a good divorce attorney.

Having someone on your side that does good work can make the process much easier.

Are you looking for more legal advice? You can find blog posts here about any legal topic.

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1 month ago Family Law

Taking Care of the Family: How to Find the Best Family Lawyer

Need to settle a family matter? An adoption? Child custody battle? Then you need the services of a lawyer. If you have little experience dealing with legal matters, deciding on a trustworthy lawyer can be challenging. Should you go for one who practices family law exclusively? Someone referred by a friend?

Your family is important to you. As such, you need the best family lawyer who can professionally deal with all urgent legal matters leaving you to handle less technical issues. This article sheds some light on what finding the best lawyer entails.

Family Lawyers

Family court lawyers specialize in family issues such as adoption, child support, custody, divorce, and marriage. Family law is a section of civil law that is different from other sections of law such as criminal law. As such, you should not just get any lawyer you know to help you with your legal issues. You need a lawyer that is specialized in family law.

Read on to learn how to find the best family lawyer for your needs.

Deciding When You Need a Lawyer

The first step in getting the best family lawyer is deciding where your legal issue lies and whether the lawyer has the right specialization to help you. It might be tempting to go to your friend whenever you need legal help. However, if your lawyer friend does not practice in the right specialization, they will not be able to provide the right help.

You need a family lawyer if you are considering signing a prenuptial agreement before marriage. You also need a family lawyer for any post-nuptial agreements that you may want. If you are considering legal separation or other issues pertaining to divorce, then you also need a family lawyer.

Family lawyers also assist in child support and child custody cases. When you want to bring a new one into the family via adoption, a family lawyer will provide great help in navigating the legal hurdles.

If you are curious about more issues that need the legal intervention of a family lawyer, you can learn more by consulting Rosenthal & Wadas, PLLC in Texas.

Decide Where to Engage the Services of a Lawyer

Different jurisdictions can have different sets of family law. As such, it is not always about the best family lawyer near me. It is about the best family law attorneys near me licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where I live. For instance, if you are dealing with custody issues, you need custody lawyers registered in the same state where you and the child lives.

Now that you know the kind of lawyer to look for, the next step is searching for a lawyer. The internet is a great resource for finding the best lawyer. One of the options that you have is going to your state’s bar association website, which has a list of all lawyers licensed to practice in the state.

Another tool to help you in your search for a lawyer is an online directory for lawyers. Several directories exist that will point you to the right kind of lawyer you need. To ensure that you get the best possible results, use multiple directories.

Conduct a Background Check

After narrowing down the list of lawyers, the next step is to conduct a background check so that you can confirm the lawyer’s history and better judge their ability to help you. A background check can be as simple as a Google search; this is enough to bring up relevant information on the lawyer. Also, include social media in your background check by searching for the profile of the lawyer on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

If the lawyer is really the best, then at the very least, there will be no negative report about them online. Law firms often document their important wins on their website, and these can provide information on the family lawyers on your shortlist.

Lawyer review sites such as Avvo exist which provide comprehensive information on lawyers, including how their clients rank them, hourly rates, area of practice and even client reviews. You can use such sites to narrow down your list of lawyers further.

Set up Meetings and Make the Final Decision

After narrowing down your search, you have a list of lawyers that you would like to meet before making the final decision. These criteria should guide you in your face-to-face meetings with the lawyers.

1. Experience

The best family lawyers often have sufficient experience. Ask how long the lawyer has worked in family law and the cases that they have worked on.

2. Board Certified

Before you part with any money, make sure that the lawyer is certified to practice in the area where you live. Cases have failed because the lawyer does not have valid licenses; you do not want this to happen to you.

3. Honesty

To gauge for honesty, you can check the lawyer’s online reviews. You can also seek out other people who might know the lawyer and ask their opinions. If the lawyer is dishonest, then the reviews should make it clear.

4. Affordability

You need a lawyer that you can afford. It might not be of use to you to win a case but have to go into bankruptcy due to expensive lawyer fees. As such, get the best within your price range by finding out the hourly rates.

5. Professionalism

A good lawyer will make a good impression by communicating in a well-mannered manner. They will also demonstrate expertise in the relevant legal law through their words. A good lawyer will be able to explain legal issues you in terms that you can understand. A good lawyer will also propose a strategy to best deal with your family issue positively.

Deciding on the Best Family Lawyer

A good lawyer takes a collaborative approach when dealing with your issues. Make sure your lawyer shares some of your most important values. For instance, if you want to resolve a certain matter amicably and out of court, they should not be too pushy about an adversarial process.

The best family lawyer for you should also be straight up. They need to tell you even what you may not want to hear. This is always a good sign when evaluating the choice of a family lawyer.

If you are looking around for legal services, you can check out our site.

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2 months ago Divorce , Family Law , Laws

7 Quick Ways to Determine Who’s the Best of Your Local Divorce Lawyers

Around 40 to 50 percent of American marriages end in divorce. No matter how beautiful your wedding was or what great intentions the both of you had, these numbers ring true.

If you are dealing with a divorce situation, you shouldn’t feel bad about it. The best thing you can do is secure one of the best local divorce lawyers to help you through the case.

You don’t have to be going through a nasty divorce to need a lawyer either. Even if you are trying to dissolve your union amicably, you should consider bringing on an attorney to make sure everything is done properly.

Continue reading this article to learn how to find the best divorce lawyer in your area.

Vetting Local Divorce Lawyers

Whether you are trying to learn more about paying child support after the divorce, how you should set up visitation or other matters, an attorney can advise you on the best practices.

See below:

1. Friends & Family Referral

It is likely that you know multiple people that have gone through divorces at some point in their lives. Ask friends and family for referrals to see how their experience was with their lawyer.

If it has been some time since their divorce, you may need to check and see if the attorney is still in town or if they are in practice at all.

2. Attorney Specialty

Before you choose an attorney, you need to look at your specific case. Some attorneys specialize in dealing with cases that involve children. Other attorneys are best working on cases that have large amounts of money at stake.

Just because an attorney is a good person doesn’t mean they are a good match for your case. You want to make sure they understand the laws around your situation so you can have the best opportunity to get the outcome that you want.

Working with an attorney that is inexperienced with your type of case puts your case in jeopardy.

3. Online Reviews

If you don’t know anyone that has a connection to a local lawyer, you can turn to online review websites. While they might not give you as much assurance as your friends and family, they are helpful when you make your decision.

After you read reviews and find a possible candidate for your case, you can even ask them if you could speak to one of their clients on the phone or in person to hear about their experience with their firm. Many clients are grateful and willing to speak with a potential new client to help the attorney as a thank-you.

4. Length of Experience

While the length of experience isn’t the end all be all, it does play into the scheme of things. If you’re working with a lawyer that doesn’t have any experience, you’re not likely to feel confident in their abilities.

New attorneys should be paired with someone that has experience so you know they have counsel from someone that has dealt with your case before. You may even ask for a discount on your case if the new attorney is put as the lead on your case.

5. Education

Education also plays into your decision-making process as you’re choosing an attorney for your divorce case. Not all educational institutions are created equally and you might want to look at the requirement of their graduation before you put your case in their hands.

6. Cost

Even if you want to find the best attorney to work your case, you simply can’t ignore cost. Some of the top divorce attorneys may be outside of your budget because they only deal with cases that have large amounts of money at stake.

Don’t be afraid to ask about their rates up front so you don’t waste your time with an attorney that is out of your reach.

Depending on what state and city you’re in as well as what type of case you have, the fees of an attorney are going to be different. You shouldn’t wait until the end of your conversation to give them the details and get an idea of how much the bill is going to be.

7. Ease of Working Together

If the divorce is long and drawn out, you’re going to be married to this attorney throughout the duration of your case. You need to make sure that you’re going to be able to work together easily.

If you hire an attorney you can’t stand, you’re going to put yourself through months of discomfort and annoyances.

Find out how frequently the attorney will be able to communicate with you. You should also find out if the attorney will be doing the work themselves or if they task everything to a paralegal.

If you expect to be updated on a daily or weekly basis, you should let them know and see if that is something they are willing to do. When you both have different expectations, no one is going to be happy so make sure to get this out up front.

Also, find out what means of communication you should expect. Do they email updates or call you on the phone? Do they work late or do they leave the office at 5?

These things are important to ask so don’t be afraid to find out before you sign on the dotted line.

Need More Legal Help?

While none of us want to deal with negative legal matters, sometimes it happens and you need help. We’ve put together our blog in a way that is designed for you to be able to easily navigate to topics where you need help.

Bookmark and browse our blog as often as you need and get the help that you need for your specific situation.

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2 months ago Family Law , Laws

5 Reasons Why Parental Control is Important in the Digital Age

Parenting in this digital age is no longer easier than it used to be in the past. Rapid advancement in technology is presenting new and difficult challenges for parents to keep up. Protecting your kids from dangers posed by digital technology and internet has become essential. Luckily, there are some excellent and advanced tools available for parental control, including monitoring apps. These apps and tools allow moms and dads to set controls on their kids’ internet activity. With the ease of access, internet exposes your kids to various threats like identity theft, cyberbullying, social media scams, and malicious content. That is why parental control has become an essential requirement to protect your kids. Here are some reasons why parental control is important in this digital age.

5 Reasons Why Parental Control is Important in the Digital AgeProtect Kids from Objectionable Content:

The reality is that objectionable content is everywhere on the internet and most parents feel helpless to shield their children from it. Parental control is the only effective way to administer the digital devices of your children. With these controls, you can restrict the access of your kid’s device to refrain from viewing inappropriate content. YouTube also has an age restriction feature to prevent suggesting and viewing adult content to kids. Internet scheduler is also a type of parental control that allows parents to set a specific time for internet access. This prevents your child from internet addiction.

Allows Website and Category Blocking:

In many cases, parents cannot identify all the websites that are inappropriate for their kids. Such websites can be restricted by blocking the entire categories. Parental control tools allow you to do this. For instance, if you want to block access to all websites that contain adult content, you will just have to block the ‘Adult’ category. The categories of websites are named as adult, social networking, gaming, downloads, etc. The category blocking feature also allows you to create an exclusion list of websites that are included in a blocked category. For example, if you have blocked the category of Social Networking but you want to allow access to Facebook only, then simply add its URL to the exclusion list.

Ability to Fight Cyberbullying:

Cell phones and the internet has made children more vulnerable to bullying and abuse through social media and text messages. KidSecured is a parental control app that allows you to see the outgoing and incoming messages and calls through Viber, Tinder or GSM. This way, you can be aware of who is contacting your kid and what conversation he is having with his friends.

Limiting Downloads to Keep Your Devices Safe:

Kids can be easily deceived and fooled and this makes them prime targets for cyber-criminals and hackers. Children are more likely to download apps and programs that look genuine but are actually malware and viruses. It can lead to dangerous outcomes and your data can get leaked that might contain confidential information like passwords, bank account information, and media. Moreover, the viruses can lock your computer, cause operational problems and can even spread to other devices connected with it.  Parental controls allow you to limit downloads from untrusted and suspicious sources. You need to be wise enough to control what your kids can or can’t download so that your computers and networks can be kept free of malware and viruses.

Increase Familiarity with Technology:

One of the prime benefits of using parental control applications is that it increases your familiarity with new apps, devices, social sites and more. While you have your own cell phones and devices, your kids may be using the apps that you haven’t used. That’s why you may find it troubling to navigate the apps and sites your kids use. Taking control of the kids’ devices allows a better understanding of what they are using and how they are using them.

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2 months ago Family Law

Top 10 Questions in Family Law

Family law in Australia, in simpler terms, is those pieces of legislation which affect family and relationship between husband, wife, children and ‘de facto’ couples, including when a relationship ends. Family law includes the legal divorce, property settlement and parenting arrangement for children. In Australia, family law is practiced in ‘Family Court of Australia’.

When it comes to family law, people are often clueless about many basic facts. Let us address some of the top 10 family law questions, people often ask.

1.    What is a divorce by Australian family law?

Divorce is nothing but the legal approval for ending married life or living together relationship. Divorce includes separation of married couples, parental management of children and property settlement. Divorce is recognized when the couple agrees on all this, either mutually or by judgment by an authorized court.

2.    De Facto relationship

Ending a de facto relationship comes under family law. De facto relationship is that where two people of same-sex or opposite sex, live together on a genuine family basis. In a de facto relationship, it is not necessary that they are legally married. Ending a de facto relationship is approved by family law, on legal conditions.

3.    Child support under family law

Family courts give prime importance to parental maintenance of children after the legal separation of parents.  Unless mutually agreed on child support by divorced parents, either or both of them can approach Department of Human Services (Child Support) for legal resolution on child support. Department of Human Services assesses child support petition and act accordingly.   

4.    About parenting order

In the parenting order, the court gives ruling on adequate parental maintenance to children. Every judgment made on child support will be at ‘best interests of the child’.  made on Court will take care of aspects like:

  1. Designating parental duties to either or both of the parents. It includes the responsibilities, powers and authority on children.
  2. Who the kids are to live with permanently. On court’s discretion, the other parent may be allowed designated time to spend with the children, which is called ‘access’.
  3. All aspects of welfare of the children will be considered and will allocate either or both parents to fulfill the responsibilities.  

5.    All about property settlement

Property settlement is also part of legal divorce according to Australian Family Law. Unlike a dispute settlement, under the family law, court always follows a ‘non-mathematical’ settlement method. Which means, it is the sole discretion of the court to order a 50/50 settlement of the property or not. The outcomes can vary based on a lot of family aspects.

There are few steps followed by every court to decide on property settlement.

  1. First of all, it is the discretion of the court to decide whether it is just and equitable to change any of the party’s legal ownership of any assets.
  2. Next step is to assess the net worth of the properties by listing out each asset owned by the parties. Also, the court assesses the contribution of the parties into the property pool.
  3. Once the assessment is done, court will look into the current and future circumstances of the petitioners which include age of the petitioners, income earning capabilities, age of the relationship and parental access of the children etc…
  4. Based on all the above-mentioned factors, court gives final judgment on property settlement.

6.    What is spousal maintenance?

When approving divorce, the court may sometimes order for spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance is essential monetary support provided to one spouse by other. If court observes that the receiving spouse is unable to support themselves sufficiently, a spousal maintenance is ordered by family court in Australia.

7.    What is a family report?

Family courts in Australia value a family report while recognizing a divorce. Family report is the observations and recommendations of a social worker or psychologist submitted to the court which briefs post-divorce arrangements and preparations in the best interests of children. The writer is either reported by the court of law or elected by both the parties by mutual consent sustains is a dispute on parental maintenance.  

8.    What is mediation?

Mediation is assisting the separated couples to reach in mutual agreements on child support and property settlement. Through mediation court aims at minimizing disputes and easing the divorce process. Mediation is not a compulsory process as court commences a mediation only when spouses don’t mutually agree on anything.

9.    How long does the process take?

It is the sole discretion of the court. However, if the spouses reach on mutual agreements and file a joint application for ‘consent orders’, then divorce is sanctioned with much lesser time than one with mediation, disputes and non-agreements of property and children.

10.    What are the requirements for divorce?

Family court sanctions a divorce based on certain requirements.

  1. The couples must have been separated for at-least 12 months. Separated but living in the same home is acceptable.
  2. Court should be convinced that the relationship is irrecoverably broken.
  3. To file a divorce petition in family court in Australia, at least one of the spouses should be an Australian citizen or resident.
  4. If you are married for less than two years, family law allows a divorce petition only after two years of separation.

Mathews Family Law & Mediation Specialists is a reliable firm with respect to quality and value representation in our family law, divorce and mediation services. Our specialist family lawyers and mediators are widely recognized experts in the family law field.

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4 months ago Divorce , Family Law

Chicago Divorce Lawyer – How To Hire

Getting divorced is a horrendous process.  There are so many things you need to get organized as you unwind your life from your partners. Usually the first of these steps is hiring a Chicago divorce lawyer.  How do you know who to hire? What should you be considering? How important is it to hire a “good lawyer” versus just anyone with a law degree.

There is not a series of statistics that make a divorce lawyer in Chicago Illinois “good” or the “best.”  We don’t tally our wins and losses like a baseball player. Lawyers rarely win or lose anyways as we usually negotiate to an acceptable settlement between the two parties.  A quick settlement is a Chicago divorce lawyer’s greatest achievement yet a quick settlement will rarely show the Chicago divorce lawyer’s true talents and good judgment.

Our Recommendation for a Trustworthy Chicago Divorce Lawyer
Russell D. Knight
(773) 334-6311
1 N State St # 1500
Chicago, IL 60602
Website

An Aggregate of 33 Reviews

This article will walk you through the many considerations you need to make as you go through the process of hiring a Chicago divorce lawyer.

1. Referrals

Because of the unquantifiable quality of a divorce lawyer’s talents, many people rely on personal recommendations to hire a lawyer.  This is a fine way to hire a lawyer but there are several considerations to make when considering a referral.

Why are they referring this Chicago divorce lawyer?  Is it because they’ve seen his or her work or is it because they are just in the Rotary club together?  Knowing the lawyer is a person of good character is important but it doesn’t speak to the lawyers knowledge of the law, reputation with the judges and colleagues, ability to argue both orally and in written form.   

The trouble with a referral to a divorce lawyer is that a divorce lawyer is more likely to be referred if the experience with that divorce lawyer was positive.   If you had a positive experience during your divorce process, that means you had a very easy divorce. Even the slightest disagreement will cause a contentious atmosphere that imbues the divorce and the lawyer him or herself with the negative energy from the divorce.  

I have had numerous people tell me anecdotes about how they did not like their Chicago divorce lawyer because of “he forced a deal” or “he didn’t win anything.”  Then I hear that the lawyer got amazing (to me) results at a reasonable price. After I tell the former client what a great job their Chicago divorce lawyer did, they will tell me, “I don’t know.  I just didn’t like him.” It’s very difficult to like someone you associate with one of the biggest traumas of your life, must less recommend him or her.

A referral from another attorney is usually the best option.  The attorney will know if the divorce lawyer has a good reputation in Chicago or not and how strong the Chicago divorce lawyer’s knowledge base and litigation skills are.  Still, at many firms, they simply send out a mass email that says, “does anyone know a divorce lawyer” and then whoever answers first sends out the referral.  

This begs the question, why don’t big firms have divorce lawyers in Chicago on staff? They usually have every other kind of lawyer.  The reason is that divorce is so unpleasant that firms do not want divorce tainting the other aspects of their practice. A client could be sending millions of dollars of legal work to a firm and then be offended that he was not awarded an extra afternoon with his kids and therefore pull the other legal work from the firm.  

People often call bar associations for referrals of divorce attorneys.  I’m not sure how these bar associations pick who to refer. I believe it is based on a pure lottery system of who wants to be on the referral list.  Many bar associations do require a minimum number of years practicing to be eligible to be on the referral list, though.

Illinois Divorce law is deeply personal.  A personal recommendation or referral is very powerful.  It just can go in either direction, good or bad.

2. Online Reviews

Online reviews have changed the world.  We used to never buy a mattress without personally laying on it but now if we see a thousand people gave it 5 stars, then maybe it’s worth it to order the mattress without laying on it.  Meanwhile, mattress stores are closing all over America.

Online reviews for Chicago divorce lawyers have a similar effect.  I have dozens of reviews on Yelp, the most in Chicago. I also have several reviews on Google.  There are a smattering of reviews of my services on other sites as well.

Online reviews have several positives and negatives.  

Anyone who is willing to review their divorce lawyer in public and in writing for the whole world to see on the internet has an extremely strong opinion.  So, their experience will pour onto the page and be truly candid.

Yelp is the internet’s number one review site because their reviews are reliable.  Over fifty people have reviewed my services on Yelp but only twenty or so are published.  Yelp checks to be sure the reviewer is real and the review is real. I am glad for their services.  I have one bad review on Yelp and I proudly own it. The person thought I charged too much ($ 5,000) for a year long case.  I hope people see that and realize how incredibly affordable and efficient my team and I are…even in bad cases.

Unfortunately, there are many reasons why these reviews are unreliable.

Google reviews are non-verifiable.  Literally anyone can review a Chicago divorce lawyer who has a Google My Business page.  There is no dispute process. For example, I hired two paralegals who worked for a competitor.  They are wonderful people who wanted to work at a more respectable firm, mine. My competitor promptly gave me three bad reviews under various aliases.  

Facebook reviews are, in theory, verifiable.   After all, they use people’s actual faces for their identities.  But, in my case, my thinly populated Facebook page has one negative review from that same competitor (They even spelled “ATTOURNEY” wrong the same way as the fake Google review).   This person conveniently has no face. Facebook is changing their review system to “recommend” or “do not recommend” to reflect their current system of either “liking” something or leaving it alone.  

Avvo is another law website that provides reviews.  I am really split on this because Avvo’s review system is two-tiered.  It has reviews from other lawyers which I think are reliable and accurate.  The client reviews are probably reliable and accurate but I can’t say for certain because those reviews don’t have verifiable names and faces.  Avvo is trying to provide a valuable service with their reviews but they have no explicit system (at least that I can tell) that verifies the client reviews.

This leads me to the final observation about reviews.  Sometimes too many reviews is suspicious. Who has 100 or even 50 reviews?  No one. Chicago is the third largest metropolitan area in the United States and I have the most reviews on Yelp at 23 published reviews.  Clients don’t like publicly reviewing their attorneys and yet some lawyers have hundreds of reviews. Are these reviews all real? I don’t know.  

The truth is, no one reviews their divorce attorney because they don’t like to air their dirty laundry to the world.  This is understandable and fair. Chicago Divorce lawyers keep their clients’ privacy for good reasons and clients seem to return the favor.

Many of my colleagues send out a form letter every time they receive a negative review.  This letter threatens a defamation suit. Then the lawyers file the defamation suit and presume that the bad review caused over $ 50,000 of lost earnings.  The lawyers know the law and the clients don’t. That’s why the client hired the lawyer in the first place. So, the bad reviews disappear.

So, my advice regarding Chicago Illinois divorce lawyer reviews is read them carefully.  Do they mention the lawyer by name? Is it on a site that is verified (honestly, Yelp is the only one)?  Is the person willing to post their face with their review? Does the person’s review sound intelligent or do they misspell words like attorney (see above).

3. Big Firms

This is America where bigger is better.  Honestly, when it comes to law firms, bigger is better.  Chicago is home to America’s largest divorce firm and, frankly, they do amazing work.  Every person in the firm is vetted as an intelligent, competent and honest person. If money is no object, hire the biggest firm you can (with some exceptions).

The only thing critical I will say about the big divorce firms’ quality is that the lawyers they send to court are sometimes not well known to the judges.  If you are representing multi-millionaires with their various assets and inexhaustible budgets, maybe you only have 3 or 5 clients per year. Maybe your clients don’t want any of their issues in court so it all gets settled in mediation and out-of-court arbitration.  Even still, it doesn’t hurt to walk up to the judge and say “I am so-and-so with [Big Firm].”

The big problem with big firms is the cost.  I don’t like to be critical of other professionals and I do believe in the old expression “You get what you pay for.”  At the end of a divorce case there will often be a balance of attorneys’ fees owed by the parties. Now until the parties are divorced, the attorneys’ fees are just another marital debt so we compare our fees.  The big firms’ fees are astronomical compared to mine. I’m sure they spent the time honestly preparing for the case but I’m not sure the value the big firm added was worth the expense.

When does overbilling happen in a big firm or any other kind of firm?  My experience is that it’s almost always unnecessary to have two attorneys at a court appearance but it happens all the time on television so clients think it’s normal.  If you have a second attorney at a hearing…what is the first attorney even doing there?

Most people relate to litigation best by recalling the OJ Simpson trial.  Marcia Clarke and Christopher Darden. Unfortunately, Ms. Clarke and Mr. Darden were both disasters in the courtroom who played off their own bad instincts while the other supported them.  Mr. Darden let OJ put on the isotoners. Ms. Clarke stacked the jury with women assuming they would think OJ was an abuser. My point is, two sets of bad decisions don’t even themselves out.  They just make it worse.

Meanwhile who do you remember from the famous OJ Defense trial team.  Everyone was famous in the law community. They were literally called “The Dream Team.”  Today no one remembers anyone but Johnny Cochrane.

Sometimes a team is not greater than the sum of its parts.  My experience with lawyers is that one good lawyer is worth more than two average lawyers.  One focused average lawyer is worth more than two good lawyers who have too many cases.

So, please, buy into the person who will be representing you.  Don’t buy into the brand. Lawyers are not making a product like Heinz makes ketchup.  We are the product.

4. The Chicago Illinois Divorce Lawyer’s Website

Good divorce lawyers in Chicago have bad websites but almost no bad lawyers have good websites.

What makes a website good and what makes a website bad?  You already know. You log on and the website either looks modern or it does not.  If the website looks old, the owner is not updating it. What else does he or she neglect?

If a website has terrible pictures that were taken on an old Iphone with no filters that is a reflection on the firm as a whole.

Law firms are a business like any other business.  They have gross income and gross expenditures. A webpage is a law firm’s face to the world.  If a law firm can’t devote 1% of its gross income a year to refining and adding to their face to the world.

Chicago Divorce lawyer’s websites will often have a variety of awards the lawyers have earned.  I’m not sure how all of these awards are decided but I have received several mailings in the past offering me an award if I just paid the $ 395 fee.  But then again, even if a Chicago divorce lawyer paid for an award it would at least reflect some pride in his or her website.

Divorce lawyers in Chicago Illinois will list their publications on their websites.  Lawyers are constantly writing articles about the law to better understand or develop a particular area of law.  This is an excellent indicator of whether the chicago divorce lawyer is truly committed to their area of practice.   I just wish these lawyers would re-publish the actual article on their website so we could see their work.

Very few divorce lawyers in Chicago Illinois will publish articles or content for the actual audience, potential clients.  This is the number one way to inform potential clients about the issue they’re facing and that the lawyer is an expert in that particular issue.  Articles show that a lawyer has a systematic way of constantly learning about the law. Almost every article I’ve ever written comes from a problem a current client has presented me with.  I review the statutes and the case law and elaborate on how those laws would apply to the various possible facts.  

Articles are an especially good indicator of attorney quality because they allow the reader to see a Chicago Illinois divorce lawyer’s skills beyond just legal knowledge.  Articles also allow insight into a lawyer’s second most important asset: his or her communication skills. If you can understand a lawyer’s description of a legal issue and the possible legal solutions then a judge who is tired and hungry before lunch will probably also understand and agree with that lawyer’s arguments.

Sadly, most lawyers are not willing to do the work required to put out an article or two a week.  Are they not encountering at least one interesting issue each week? I know I am. What’s more, when they do write the article, they often just outline the problem and then write, “to learn more contact an attorney now.”  Lawyers are notoriously risk averse and don’t even want to propose possible solutions in writing.

Articles will also give insight into the Chicago divorce lawyer’s personality.  Is the article purely about the problem and solutions or does the article provide a glimpse into the lawyer’s sense of compassion? Does the lawyer reference his or her experiences and opinions in the article? Any lawyer who is willing to put his or her personal experiences and opinions in writing is a person of passion and conviction.

5. The Chicago, Il Divorce Lawyer’s Resume

When you hire any other employee, you look at that person’s resume first to determine if they’ll be a good fit for the job.

Many people do the same when hiring lawyers.  What school did the lawyer go to? How long have they been practicing?  Where have they been practicing?

While lawyers don’t directly post their resumes on their websites you can piece together their resume through the “about me” sections of their websites and/or LinkedIn, Avvo or other websites that showcase professional skills.  

The law school a divorce lawyer in Chicago Illinois attended is largely immaterial.  Divorce law is not rocket science compared to say constitutional or federal administrative law.  Hardly any Chicago divorce lawyers attended an elite law school. I attended the University of Illinois College of Law which at the time was ranked in the top 25 of over 200 law schools nationwide.  I never run into any fellow alumni practicing family law.  Many of the best attorneys I know attended law schools with poor rankings.  Maybe they got a scholarship? Maybe they had a bad day when they took the LSAT?  It doesn’t matter because it truly doesn’t matter if your Chicago divorce lawyer is an academic genius.  

The length of practice can be a factor in choosing a Chicago divorce lawyer.  After about ten years or so, every divorce lawyer in Chicago says, “I’ve been practicing law for X years so I know…”  If the lawyer has truly been practicing divorce law primarily, that is a great feature. If the lawyer has been practicing other kids of law during their career, then many of those years will provide no advantage to the lawyer.  

Time practicing law confers a familiarity with the law but more importantly a familiarity with the courts themselves: the procedures, the judges, the opposing counsels.  This is where the added value occurs.

6. The Intake.

Before hiring any divorce lawyer, you should personally meet with the lawyer if possible.

Divorces take anywhere from 2 months to 2 years or longer.  You are forging a relationship with your divorce lawyer in Chicago Illinois as you dissolve your relationship with your spouse.  The intake is the first date.

Does the Chicago divorce lawyer even allow you to meet with him or her or do you have to meet first with an associate or a paralegal to gather information?  It’s perfectly alright for a lower level employee to take information like your address and financial issues but you should be meeting the lawyer who will be helping you directly.  In a bigger law firm that lawyer may be the associate. An associate may have the time and energy to help you in a way the name partner of the firm never could. Either way, you need to like and trust the lawyer who’ll be assigned to your case.

How does the Chicago divorce lawyer at the intake meeting present themselves in person?  Do they inspire confidence? Do they seem professional? The lawyer will be making the same impression later on the judge and opposing counsel.  The lawyer is presenting your case and he or she is part of the presentation.

How does the lawyer’s office look?  Is the office old? Is the office a mess? Or is the office a reflection of the lawyer’s professionalism: clean, crisp and modern?

Meet your lawyer! You deserve to feel confident in your lawyer as you embark upon the frightening journey that is divorce.

Of course, this advice is only about how to choose your Chicago divorce lawyer.  Your ongoing relationship with your divorce lawyer will also be difficult. He or she will bombard you with documents memorializing everything.  I strongly recommend scheduling regular meetings with your lawyer to discuss your case. An in-person meeting will remove all ambiguity and keep you and your divorce lawyer on the same page during every chapter of your divorce.

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4 months ago Family Law

7 Ways to Support Friends or Family Undergoing a Legal Battle

Legal battles are stressful no matter what kind they are. Anyone who is going through a battle will need support from his or her closest friends and family members. You may not know how you can help, but there are many ways you can. The following is a short list of seven ways you can support your loved one in the midst of a legal struggle or battle. This person will appreciate your participation and may have a brighter day because you contributed.

1. Avoid Judging Them

The most helpful way that you can support someone who is in the midst of a legal battle is to avoid judging them. For example, don’t put down someone who has a criminal charge against them because everyone is innocent until someone proves that person guilty. Try not to judge a victim of a crime either. Victims of certain crimes often receive the blame for “allowing” the crime to happen to them. You can be an amazing friend and supporter by refraining from doing that. Furthermore, don’t judge a person who is going through a divorce because the process is traumatic as it is. This person needs encouragement and reassurance that brighter days will come. You can be a light in the person’s life during dark times if you do everything you can to brighten each day.

2. Support Their Choices

Back your loved one up no matter what decision that he or she makes for the legal process. Support the individual whether that person is on the outside or inside of a criminal case. Attempt to understand the moves the person makes to preserve his or her integrity and self-confidence. In other words, stay in the person’s corner until the legal case ends because that person is going to need your friendship to stay grounded. Court cases have a habit of draining people emotionally. You can be the source of replenishment that a person needs during the most burdensome time of his or her life.

3. Lend an Ear

Your loved one will need you to lend an ear while he or she vents and gets rid of the tension that builds during the case. A legal case is a form of crisis, so everything you do will help. You may not think you’re doing much by listening and saying nothing, but you are. People need to talk about their fears, outcome desires, possible scenarios and other information while they advance through legal processes. Your kind, nonjudgmental ear will give them a chance to do that.

4. Conduct Research

You could also help your friend or family member by conducting research to find out more information about what the person is going through. For example, you could read information on recent cases to see their outcome. You can help your loved one understand the nature of the accusation and the consequences and rewards of such. You can research some law firms to see which one is the most reputable according to case statistics and client reviews. Your help in this area will mean a lot because legal cases are often exhausting. Participants feel comfortable having people who are close to them help with things. An attorney can provide most of the research and legalities, but you can act as an additional team member for this person and keep that person secure by doing so.

5. Provide Testimony or Presence

Another thing you can do to help is to provide testimony for the person. You can give your eye-witness account if you were there during the incident, or if you have vast knowledge of what occurred. You may be able to give an alibi if you know the person was with you at a time when an authority questioned his or her whereabouts. Your presence will be helpful even if you cannot provide testimony. Sometimes, just knowing someone is there is enough to soothe a person who is going through a legal battle.

6. Help Pay for Attorney Fees

Helping to pay for attorneys fees is an immediate means of support if you have it. Your friend or family member is going to need a good attorney from cnglawyers. You can help to make that happen by contributing money. Money doesn’t solve everything, but it can surely motivate an attorney to work hard for the one you love. It will also take some of the stress off the other person’s back. That person won’t feel such a heavy weight on the shoulders if financial support is available.

7. Help With the Family

If you don’t have the monetary means to help, you could assist the person in other ways. The individual is going to have a lot on his or her mind, so you can share some of the responsibilities that can cause burnout. For example, you can offer to run errands for the person such as grocery shopping or housekeeping. You can offer to pick the children up and spend some time with them so that your loved one can get a break. You can offer a vast assortment of helpful things that don’t cost a penny. Don’t think that you aren’t needed or that you can’t be helpful. You are, and you absolutely can.

Get involved in your loved one’s legal battle right away to show that person that you care and have faith in them. Your support may be the weight that tips the legal scale in that person’s favor.

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What are the benefits of using a family mediation service?

Family mediation is a positive, forward-thinking and confidential process that resolves personal and professional disputes using a non-biased third party to help facilitate a mutually and satisfactory outcome.

Most people will have minimal contact with the legal system. But, in the situation where they do there may be many questions asked. It’s a very stressful situation when a couple are going through a separation or divorce. Their lives that they have lived together has dramatically changed and there will be many concerns about property, money and children.

Family mediation is now becoming the fastest growing method of resolving family disputes. Often agreeing things without the help of a third-party mediator isn’t an easy process as you try to make arrangements for the future. THB Legal can help you resolve differences in many respects including child arrangements, separation, divorce and relationship difficulties.

Family mediation give the participants involved the opportunity to discuss all possible options in a neutral and safe practicing environment before coming to a mutually agreed arrangement. During the process, either party remain in total control and no arrangement or decision will be forcibly imposed. Family mediators are highly skilled in helping separating partners explore all possible options thoroughly by exploring the advantages and disadvantages of each proposal made towards either party. A mediator nor the parties involved would be able to determine whether a suggestion was fair or not unless all of the cards were laid on the table.

Mediation that deals with property and finance is facilitated on the basis that there is full financial disclosure from each party. Only then can the mediation process begin. The sole reason for this is that the financial disclosures set the context of the process itself and the prospective proposals made by either party. Family mediation is a far more time efficient service and less expensive than litigation especially when there are financial issues involved.

The THB Legal Family Mediation Process

The first step in the process is to attend a mediation information and assessment meeting (often called a MAIM) with a specially qualified family mediator. The three aims of a MAIM are –

  1. Explain the alternatives including mediation compared to the court processes that are available for separating couples.
  2. To give you the opportunity to decide on what route you think will be best for your relationship breakdown and what is involved in the breakdown. For example, children, financial and property issues.
  3. To explore and determine whether using a family mediation service would be a safe and effective way to resolve your dispute in your circumstances.

During the MAIM you will be able to ask the mediator any questions that you might have regarding the service. If you do decide that family mediation is the right process for you then the mediator will contact your ex-partner and invite them to attend their own MAIM to discuss the process with them. During this session, mediators are also able to offer legal aid mediation.

What Happens after a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting?

Upon seeing both parties, the mediator will then arrange a joint session. The number of sessions typically depend on the number of issues that need to be resolves but normally between 2 – 6 sessions and lastly for 1 – 2 hours.

During these sessions, you and your ex-partner will express your views and concerns to each other and to the mediator. The mediator who is not biased to either party will then help you focus on what needs to be done to forward and more importantly how it can be done. Once an agreement how been made between both of the parties then this will be recorded by the mediator just so you are both clear on what the agreement includes and prevent any confusion once the mediation process concludes. Its important to highlight that once an agreement has been made, you may need to have the agreement in question put into writing so that it would be a legal binding agreement but this typically depends on the complexity of the dispute.

It is vital that if you do have any concerns about any agreement made during the mediation process then you are free to seek legal advice so you know what can be enforced by law.

Child Arrangements

When the relationship between two parent’s breakdown it is normally their utmost priority to make arrangements for the children involved.  Above all else that’s involved in a separation, you and your ex-partner are no longer together but you are still and always will be parents to the same children. We believe that the best people to decide a child’s future is the parents and we are here to help you make future arrangements that are in their best interests.

Research has also shown that children can be more adversely affected by the uncertainty of their parent’s separation rather than the separation itself. Mediation helps to improve a productive level of communication between parents will enable them to move forward with an organised and working relationship for the future. These plans that are formulated by mutual consent can help restore trust between parents and help them move on emotionally but also practically with children in mind.

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