Many people hire me to handle their divorce or parentage action in Chicago without meeting me personally. Potential clients read my hundreds of articles about Illinois divorce, see my reviews online or they can tell that I “know what I’m talking about” after a quick phone call.
I always prefer to meet my potential clients face-to-face, however. I can learn so much more about my client and their case in a face-to-face meeting than I ever could by sending emails back and forth. Now, after the coronavirus, I am happy to do a Zoom meeting with a potential client.
When scheduling an initial consultation there is some preparation and items I would prefer that you bring to the consult. They have listed below:
- Prior Pleadings and Court Orders. If your case is already filed, bring me everything that has been filed in your case to date. If you don’t have any of those documents, they will be available just a few blocks away at the Daley Center’s 8th floor computers.
- Your Case File. If you had another attorney previously, he or she will have prepared a case file that includes all the correspondence and filings related to your case. If you don’t have your case file, I can arrange to pick it up from your old lawyer’s office (this is very common).
- Two years of your tax returns. If you have your spouse’s tax returns bring those as well. Bring any W2s, 1099s, K-1s from those years as well. Any other documents that you’ve gathered in preparation of divorce will be scanned for possible later use.
- Five copies of your recent paystubs. Also bring last year’s last paystub so I can see the year-to-date numbers.
- Financial Affidavit. I always give my clients a copy of the official Illinois Financial Affidavit at our first meeting as it is required to be filled out for every divorce’s discovery process to fill out. If you fill it out in advance, that would be ideal (but not expected).
- Salient Evidence. Your divorce may have a particular issue that you need to bring to my attention and if you have any evidence of that issue, bring that evidence with you to the initial consultation. I have had clients bring me photos of piles of cash and jewelry for example. More frequently, text messages are becoming common evidence in divorce cases.
- List of Questions. Visiting a divorce lawyer is stressful and you are sure to forget important initial questions. Feel free to bring a list of those questions so we can work through them all and provide you with the information you need.
- A friend. It’s okay to bring along a friend or relative if you feel you need some kind of support.
You can feel free to bring the originals of all of these documents. I will make copies for my records before you leave. I never keep a client’s original documents.
One thing you don’t need to bring to my office is money. I offer free consultations unlike many divorce lawyers in Chicago. The reason I offer free consultations is because we are interviewing each other. I am trying to find out if you are a good fit for my law office’s services as you are trying to decide if my staff and I are a good fit for your divorce.
Here’s what you will leave my office with:
- All of your original documents. The documents will be organized and put into folders by my staff who will have copied and scanned them all.
- A signed contract if you have decided to retain our firm.
- A receipt for any payment you made to our firm.
- My contact information and the contact information of the paralegal that is assigned to your case.
Divorce is a painful process but you’ll find that the initial consultation will have you feeling relieved once you hear an experienced attorney’s advice regarding your case. I notice that people who talk to me leave my office looking like they finally have control over a terrible situation.
It’s important to note that if you consult with a lawyer you have probably created an attorney-client relationship which would prohibit your spouse from hiring that lawyer even if you did not hire the lawyers.
Contact my Chicago, Illinois office to schedule your initial and free consultation.