The 7 Most Frequently Asked Questions in 2021 for a Fast, Friendly Divorce
- Can we both have the same attorney? In Chicago divorce cases, both parties cannot be represented by the same legal counsel or law firm. However, Often times in two parties are friendly, cooperative and communicative then they can consider what I call the “friendly divorce.” This process allows one party to retain my law firm and we handle the drafting and filing of the initial petition for dissolution of marriage and proceed with that filing while also providing the other party with a “friendly” letter advising them of the filing and further indicating our client’s interest for the case to proceed smoothly, amicably, and quickly to a final resolution, which is the entry of a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage. At this juncture, the correspondence allows the other party a set amount of time to obtain his or her own legal counsel OR they can file paperwork with the court (known as a pro se appearance) to represent themselves, allowing us to then communicate directly. When the parties have a mutual understanding of settlement terms and have fully disclosed their respective income, assets and liabilities then this process can be the most cost-effective and swift way to a final resolution. While this may not work for everyone, for those willing to commit to an amicable and friendly process it can lead to a very smooth court case and outcome.
- How long will this take? A divorce case can take weeks…or years. The reason this question is hard to answer is that there is no way to guarantee or ensure that the other party will remain on the same page in regards to the divorce process, remain friendly, remain cooperative, provide timely responses, provide full financial disclosure, and a plethora of other factors. The bottom line is that the timeline is really up to the parties – their mutual commitment to getting things done expeditiously will of course move it forward. We always work with our clients to ensure that the pace of the case is something that they are happy with and we work diligently to keep things on track.
- How much will this cost? You will pay an initial retainer at the onset of your case in conjunction with signing an engagement letter with the law firm of your choosing, which then makes them your retained legal counsel. The initial retainer typically reflects the anticipated complexity and nature of the case, which is determined during your initial consultation. Our law firm remains very transparent about attorneys’ fees and court costs by providing a monthly invoice which details the amount of time being worked on your case (in six minute increments of time) along with any court fees or costs paid on your behalf. This allows our clients to closely monitor and track costs, allowing them to budget and utilize legal time accordingly.
- What do you need from us to draft the paperwork for the divorce? We collect background information of both parties (and their children) at the initial stages of the case, which information is provided by our client to ensure we have all of the information needed to prepare the petition for dissolution of marriage. We also comply with local court rules in requesting that every party in a divorce action complete the court’s Financial Affidavit (which shows your income, monthly expenses, assets and liabilities) and provide supporting financial documentation, as needed. This allows us to have a global understanding of the financials to be able to discuss settlement terms, support calculations, and the like. It is a key component in being able to prepare the marital settlement agreement that will ultimately be incorporated into a judgment for dissolution of marriage by the judge.
- What if my spouse changes their mind about proceeding with a friendly divorce? Either party can change their mind about many things during the course of a divorce case, including whether or not they want to remain friendly and amicable through the divorce process. Every party has the right to change their mind about many things – from legal representation options, disclosure and discovery, settlement terms, support calculations, on and on. You cannot control how your spouses handles the process, only how you react and proceed d on your own, with the guidance of legal counsel.
- What factors makes a case an uncontested divorce? An uncontested divorce is one where there are literally NO issues remaining to be determined, settled, negotiated, or discussed. That means that all aspects of the case are resolved: who will file, allocation of all assets, allocation of all debts, maintenance, child support, contribution to child-related expenses, health insurance coverage and costs, taxes, attorneys’ fees, and more, are all already agreed upon.
- Does a contested divorce case mean it’s going to be difficult or conflicted? No. A contested divorce simply means that there could be one item or many items remaining to be determined, settled, addressed, mediated, or litigated. Your Chicago divorce attorney can guide you through this process and work with you to reach a resolution.
The Chicago law firm of Ward Family Law, LLC has experienced lawyers, paralegals and mediators on-hand, which allows us to work with our clients toward fast, friendly divorces. This process allows you to move forward with your life after a friendly, fast, and fair resolution is reached. Email me, Jennifer R. Ward, at email@example.com to set up your free initial consultation with me to discuss your divorce case, strategy, and options in the hopes that we can work together toward a friendly divorce.