How to Prepare to File for Divorce

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How to Prepare to File for Divorce

America’s divorce rate has declined sharply in recent years. Yet at the same time, divorce’s moral acceptability rating has increased sharply. In other words, more people than ever before have questions about marriage dissolution in Illinois. These questions not only include the divorce process, which has changed significantly since 2016. Pre-filing questions abound as well.

Filing for divorce is always a big step. Even an uncontested, no-fault divorce usually involves some legal, financial, and emotional issues. A Chicago family law attorney helps petitioners (people who file divorce) navigate through this minefield. Lawyers stand up for your rights in court and give you solid legal advice throughout the process.

When Should I File For Divorce?

There is an old saying that goes something like “It’s better to live on a corner of a roof than to share a mansion with a disagreeable spouse.” At some point, a marriage simply becomes untenable. At the same time, it is important to be mindful of the cost of divorce. And we are not just talking about the financial cost.

Some divorces involve marital trauma, like infidelity, abandonment, or assault. Generally, only the strangest and most resilient relationships can recover from such damage. Furthermore, in most cases, both spouses must admit some level of fault and repent.

Most divorces are slow-fade divorces. The couple simply drifts apart over time. During this time, minor disagreements become major issues.

It is hard to tell when a marriage can be reconciled and when it is best to give up. Making things more complicated, many spouses have a romanticized view of divorce, like many people have a romanticized view of marriage. Sometimes, a trial separation period helps. This separation gives bickering spouses a good idea of what divorced life is like. Then, they can better assess their marriages.

Finding the Right Lawyer

A Chicago family law attorney can help with the pre-filing decision, at least in some cases. Without naming names or going into specifics, an attorney can give you a thoughtful cost-benefit assessment.

The right attorney is even more important once you file legal paperwork. When you meet with prospective lawyers and evaluate them, focus on the following items:

  • Experience: Another old saying, which is accurate in this case, is “there is no substitute for experience.” Most courts have their own rules of evidence and procedure. Many of these rules are unwritten. Your divorce should not be an inexperienced lawyer’s training course.
  • Dedication: Family law is completely unlike other kinds of litigation. It also has little in common with transactional law, like wills and estate planning. So, family law should not be a sideshow. As a rule of thumb, if a lawyer’s practice is more than 50% non-family law, that is a bad sign.
  • Compassion: Divorce is not just a legal proceeding. It is emotional, as well. Even if a spouse is emotionally ready for divorce, there is usually some sadness. Many people grieve not for their marriages, but for what might have been. An attorney is not a psychologist. Nevertheless, your lawyer should have a good bedside manner.

The right qualifications are not enough. Your lawyer should also have a clear vision for your case and offer a realistic estimate as to financial cost.

Work With a Savvy Cook County Attorney

Divorce is a very big step in several different ways. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Chicago, contact Andrea Heckman Law, Ltd. Convenient payment plans are available.

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