HomeBlogAlimony & Spousal SupportThe First Meeting: What to Discuss in Your Initial Consultation with a Chicago Divorce Attorney

The First Meeting: What to Discuss in Your Initial Consultation with a Chicago Divorce Attorney

Embarking on the journey of divorce is undoubtedly a feeling of jumping into the unknown. As you navigate the complexities of dissolving a marriage, seeking legal counsel is a crucial step to ensure your rights and interests are protected. The initial consultation with a divorce attorney in Chicago serves as a pivotal moment to gather information, assess your situation, and make informed decisions.

Here are the 7 key topics you should discuss during this crucial meeting.

1. Personal Background and Marriage Details:

Begin by providing a comprehensive overview of your personal background and the details of your marriage. Share information about you and your spouse, including ages, employment, and any children involved. Be prepared to discuss the reasons for seeking a divorce and any major events leading up to this decision.

2. Legal Grounds for Divorce:

Understand the legal grounds applicable to your situation and discuss the implications of each. Your attorney will guide you in discussing irreconcilable differences and requirements to move forward, including living separate and apart.

3. Asset and Debt Division:

Financial matters are often a significant source of contention in divorce proceedings. Outline your assets, including properties, investments, and savings, as well as any debts. Discuss your expectations regarding the division of property and how you envision handling financial matters during and after the divorce.

4. Child Custody and Support:

If children are involved, child custody (now known as an allocation of parental responsibilities: parenting time and decision-making) and support will be paramount. Be prepared to discuss your preferences for custody, now known as parenting time arrangements, decision-making responsibilities, and child support. Your attorney will guide you through the legal standards and work towards securing an arrangement that is in the best interests of the children.

5. Spousal Maintenance (Alimony):

Spousal maintenance, or alimony, may be a consideration depending on the circumstances of your marriage, including incomes and duration among other things. Discuss your financial needs and concerns, as well as your spouse’s ability to provide support. Your attorney will help you understand the factors that influence the determination of spousal maintenance.

6. Legal Process and Timeline:

Gain clarity on the legal process ahead, including the steps involved, potential timelines, and court procedures. Understand the documentation required and any immediate actions you need to take. This discussion will help manage expectations and provide you with a roadmap for the divorce proceedings.

7. Attorney Fees and Billing Structure:

Candidly discuss the attorney fees and billing structure. Inquire about the retainer fee, hourly rates, and any additional costs associated with your case. Understanding the financial aspects of legal representation will help you plan and budget accordingly.

The initial consultation with a Chicago divorce attorney is a crucial step towards navigating the complexities of divorce with confidence and clarity. By openly discussing personal details, legal grounds, financial matters, and the overall legal process, you empower your attorney to provide tailored guidance and representation. Remember, this consultation is not only an opportunity for the attorney to assess your case but also for you to evaluate if they are the right fit for your needs. Approach the meeting with transparency and prepare to embark on this journey with a knowledgeable and supportive legal advocate by your side.  Jennifer Ward, our Founder, is available via email to schedule an initial consultation with a potential client directly; you can reach her at jward@wardfamilylawchicago.com today.



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