A competent attorney is key in settling your divorce in a timely manner. We can help you navigate your divorce and work towards a fair resolution.
Allocation of Parental Responsibilities, formerly known as child custody in Illinois, refers to the care, maintenance, and control of a minor child.
Our firm supports clients who are facing a paternity case. We devise a legal strategy to help protect your parental rights.
If you and your partner are looking to create a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, our firm is here to help. We work hard to ensure your contract serves your best interests.
We offer assistance to those who need to determine child support. Our skilled attorneys are prepared to represent you in court.
Our divorce attorneys work with cases involving the dissolution of same-sex marriages and civil unions. We provide you with the guidance that you need.
We have extensive experience as advocates for those who experienced domestic violence. You can depend on our attorneys for sound legal advice during this challenging time.
As your child’s Guardian Ad Litem, we represent their best interests in child custody cases and fight for the best outcome.
Divorce can be a complex process. If there is an ongoing dispute between you and the other party, you may benefit from our mediation services.
We are experienced negotiators and have successfully settled cases involving marital and non-marital property.
WARD FAMILY LAW, LLC was established to provide clients with access to excellent advocates, negotiators, mediators, and experienced litigators. Ms. Ward, a skilled Chicago divorce lawyer and the founder of WARD FAMILY LAW, LLC, has exclusively practiced matrimonial and family law nearly 20 years and continues as Adjunct Faculty at The John Marshall Law School teaching family law legal writing to law students since 2005; the legal writing program is ranked #6 in the country for law school writing programs by US News & World Report (2019). Ms. Ward also had the honor of speaking at the “Leaving a Long-Term Marriage” workshop produced by The Lilac Tree, an Evanston-based not-for-profit resource for women contemplating divorce. She has also provided a matrimonial-related lecture series at The Latin School of Chicago Adult Education Program and on more than one occasion has lent her commentary to Chicago Tribune related publications on family law articles and topics of interest. The classroom, lecturing, publishing and courtroom experience provides clients with well-rounded representation, finesse at settlement negotiation, precise drafting skills, and litigation expertise.
Consult with an attorney at one week prior to needing to initiate any action.
Signing off on an engagement letter, information intake sheet and payment of a retainer formalizes the attorney-client relationship to commence a case or initiate any action with the court.
Completion and exchange of financial affidavits, preparations of balance sheets, calculations of support, and issuance of formal discovery.
If minor children are involved, these two components are key aspects to an allocation judgment.
Reviewing settlement options with the client to discuss global settlement of terms taking Illinois law into consideration.
If there remain items of concern then sometimes mediation will allow the parties to reach an agreement outside of the courtroom.
Court intervention can occur at any stage wherein the parties are unable to reach an agreement.
Marital settlement agreement and formalization of settlement terms for entry by the Judge.
Formalization of parenting time and decision-making for entry by the Judge.
The parties either proceed to prove-up or the next stage is preparations in setting the case for trial, including formal discovery completion, depositions, subpoenas, witness lists, expert reports and the like.
Our firm has represented many clients through custody cases and witnessed, first-hand, the impact of custodial conflict and works closely with clients to achieve the best results under the law.
Our firm works closely with clients at the onset of their case to obtain the full financial disclosure of both parties to be able to properly and accurately calculate child support under the guidelines provided by Illinois law.
Our firm has handled the dissolution of civil unions and same-sex marriages and has the knowledge to provide you with guidance and answers during this process.
Our firm represents clients of various personal and professional backgrounds with each client having their own unique issues and concerns, but all are going through the same divorce process.
Often domestic violence actions are emergency matters that require immediate attention and a good understanding of the court system to achieve needed protection, so please contact WARD FAMILY LAW, LLC, if this is applicable to your case.
A guardian ad litem is an attorney for the parties’ child or children. The guardian ad litem is required to investigate the facts of the case, interview the parties, and testify or submit a written report to the court regarding his or her recommendations in accordance with the best interest of the child.
Mediation is a confidential process where a neutral third party (the mediator) assists the parties in reaching an agreement regarding any unresolved or contested issues in their case.
In the cases where a man and woman are not married and have a child, a paternity (or parentage) case is applicable. The court has the power to determine parentage, legally, establishing who a child’s father is or is not under the law.
If you are engaged (or are already married) and want to ensure that you have a mutual understanding of certain obligations or specific divisions are in place, should something go awry in your marriage, then a Premarital Agreement (also known as a Prenuptial Agreement) or a Postnuptial Agreement may be the best option.
Determining marital property from non-marital property is a very important aspect of the divorce process and to the parties going through a divorce.
If maintenance is appropriate, there are many forms it can take, including but not limited to reviewable, permanent or non-modifiable.
I knew we were going to have a custody battle from day one. It was going to be mean and messy and expensive and long. I did not know if I could handle it but I had to do it for my kids. Jennifer litigated my case to the end - we had an attorney for the kids, we had psych evaluations, we had reports for the Judge, we had court date after court date. She was strategic, smart, planned well ahead, and kept on top of everything. Thanks to her and her legal eagles my kids are in a…
We were not married but had two kids and we were both listed as the parents on the birth certificates. What I did not know at the time was that the birth certificate (for parents who are not married) does not count in Chicago! You have to have a paternity test or have signed some special paperwork at the hospital that we did not know about at the time. Ward Family Law prepared the court filings so that we could establish our parental rights. Thank you!
At the end of my divorce case I realized that the paperwork required us to provide the court with a Qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) in order for our retirement and investment accounts to be divided as we had agreed. The problem was that we did not have them done in time. Jennifer and her team stepped in and handled contacting the plan administrators, completing the draft QDROs, submitting them for pre-approval of everyone and then presenting them to the court. While we had hoped this was super easy there were a lot of steps and a lot of things…
From the very start I was nervous and scared about the entire divorce process and ending up with nothing. Jennifer and Emily guided me step-by-step through the process with patience. I realized that the more that I knew about my own finances and the finances of my marriage the more I would be comfortable going forward with the divorce. With their expertise I was able to move forward and finish my case with a settlement that was fair and allows me to feel safe going forward on my own.
In the middle of the divorce process I realized that my business was up for grabs. I worked my whole life to build this business and could not believe that I could lose it in the divorce. In steps Jennifer and she saves the day. Her knowledge of the law and her team's analysis of my company allowed us to work out a settlement of my overall marital estate that would keep my business in one piece and in my control. If you want a level head that knows what she is doing, then give Jennifer a call and let…
After years of getting the same amount in child support I heard that the laws had changed and we had not updated the child support numbers even though I knew my ex made way more money since it was all done. I did an initial phone consultation with Jennifer and she walked me through the process of a modification of child support. On the day that I signed on with Ward Family Law we hit the ground running to get the papers on file so that the clock would start ticking for the new child support number to apply. I…
I cannot thank Jennifer at Ward Family Law enough for her hard work on my case. We had a lot of issues but the number one issue after years of marriage was alimony. I knew that I should receive some money each month to balance everything out, but I had no idea how to make sure that I got it. Jennifer told me that alimony is called maintenance in Illinois. Well, there you go. I had the wrong term to even start with. It didn't matter though because Jennifer got all the income documentation and asked all the right questions…
The reviews were right! We were having trouble filing the divorce papers correctly. We knew that if we could not start the divorce process on our own there was no way that we could finish it on our own. We didn't have anything to fight over though. We already split up everything and we are on good terms. I hired Jennifer at Ward Family Law to take care of everything and it was so smooth and easy start to finish. Having a lawyer take care of our case made sure that things were done correctly so that we did not…
I am writing a review because I think a lot of times people make the same mistake that I did at the beginning of my case. I had a wonderful talk with Jennifer before my case started and I was very comfortable with her demeanor and her explanations of the Chicago Divorce process. I decided to go with another lawyer because the retainer was a little lower. Big mistake. I didn’t really like the lawyer when we spoke but I was more focused on the money instead of the big picture. I felt like there was no communication during my…
My Husband, now ex, and I wanted a friendly, fast divorce. We had nothing to fight about and nothing really to divide. We thought that would make it easy but when we saw all the paperwork we knew that we needed help. It takes one piece of paper to get married and 100 pieces of paper to get divorced in Chicago!! Ward Family Law made the divorce a smooth process for us and got it done faster than we thought. If you want to be friends with your ex but still want the divorce then look no further and call…
Alimony – called spousal maintenance in Illinois – does not factor into every divorce, but it does play an important…
In Chicago divorce cases that involve children there can sometimes be inquiries that arise in regards to emancipation of a…
If you are going through a divorce, you have a lot on your mind, and while your parental rights and…
With high school graduations across the country happening this week, it is no surprise that families of Chicago divorce cases are…
Prior to the pandemic, Chicago divorce cases and paternity cases were held in-person at the courthouse. As of June, 2022…