When selecting a DuPage County family law attorney, the initial consultation is one of the most important meetings you will have. During the consultation, you will have an opportunity to ask questions, and discuss your specific family circumstances. The initial consultation is an attorney-client privileged meeting so only you, not your spouse, should be present.
We will spend about an hour together, talking about the facts and circumstances of your matter and the options available to you. I want to know what your goals are and how you would like to resolve the issue.
The initial consultation does not involve a sales pitch for our firm. In fact, I do not allow new clients to retain us during the initial consultation because I believe that the selection of counsel for a family law matter should be made after careful thought and consideration. Although many of our clients are referred to us by former clients or other attorneys, we do not accept every case that comes in the door. The very personal and emotional nature of family law matters requires a good working relationship and high degree of trust and cooperation between client and attorney. I encourage you to seek other opinions and interview several attorneys before selecting the one you will entrust with the future of you and your family. Both the client and the attorney are best served when there is a good fit and the ability to have a productive working relationship.
To schedule an initial consultation, call my office at 800-569-5371. Remember, all telephone calls made to my office are kept confidential. The first thing our staff will ask is your name and that of your spouse. The reason we need your name is to enable us to do what is called a "conflicts check". If we have seen your spouse in the past, it is a conflict of interest for us to meet with you. We will also ask which county you reside in because our practice is limited to Cook, Dupage, Kane, Will and a few adjacent counties. We can usually schedule an initial consultation within a few days to a week following your call. Our staff will ask for an email address or fax number in order to provide you with a Initial Consultation Information form and ask that you complete it to the best of your ability prior to our meeting. Please bring the completed form with you when you come in for your initial consultation.
We will spend about an hour together, talking about the facts and circumstances of your matter, your spouse and children (if any) and your goals for resolution of the dispute. During the first part of the initial consultation, I will review the form you have completed and ask some further questions about:
- The makeup of your family. Age and health status of the parties and children, if any.
- Current and past employment, earnings history and educational backgrounds of you and your spouse.
- Type and value of the assets such as stock, bank, brokerage, retirement accounts and college savings.
- Type and amount of debts such as mortgage, vehicle loans and revolving credit.
- The address, value, indebtedness and names on title of all real estate.
- If either party has an ownership interest in a business, I will need to know about the nature of the business, it's history and ownership structure.
Listening to your story
After gathering baseline financial and factual data, I will ask you to tell me about the facts and circumstances that led you to seek legal advice. Remember, the information you provide during our meeting is protected by the Attorney-Client privilege and is totally confidential, whether or not you choose to retain our firm. Do not be embarrassed or afraid to tell me your story. I have been practicing family law for many years and have heard all kinds of stories. I am not here to pass judgment on you. I am here to help you. To do so, I must have a good understanding of what is going on in your life so that I can advise you as to the best course of action. It is imperative that you be fully honest with me so that I can properly advise you.
Explanation of Illinois law and options
Many of our clients come to an initial consultation seeking education and information and are not yet ready to make decisions or proceed with filing papers. We view this meeting as an educational session as well. This is the time for you to learn about the various dispute resolution methods: litigation, collaboration, mediation and negotiation. We will explain each of these models in detail and discuss how each would be applicable to your situation. We will discuss the steps involved in each process, the costs and the appropriateness of each model to your particular facts and circumstances.
We will have an in-depth discussion about Illinois law as it relates to the facts and circumstances of your situation. I will explain that the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act governs divorce and legal separation in Illinois and that the judge is charged with applying the law to the particular facts and circumstances of each case. There are no absolutes in family law and no one can tell you with certainty how your case will be resolved. However, based upon years of experience with hundreds of cases, I will be able to give you a fairly detailed range of possibilities of how your case will resolve.
I encourage you to ask questions during our meeting. Feel free to bring a list of questions and I'll make sure to answer them. Remember, there is no such thing as a dumb question! Once all of your questions are answered, you'll be armed with the information you need to make the decisions that are best for you and your family.
To schedule an initial consultation, please call 800-569-5371. All telephone calls to our office are kept private and confidential.