Going through a divorce can be an overwhelming process, and many who are considering it don't always know where to start. It's important to work with a professional who concentrates in divorce and family law to ensure all of your bases are covered.
"The first step is to seek a consultation, during which an attorney can fully explain divorce options, including a traditional divorce case, the collaborative divorce method, or mediation," said Erin Webster O'Brien, family law attorney. "Clients will learn about property division, parental rights, child support, and spousal maintenance. After a consultation, the client is under no obligation to move forward with a divorce until they are ready to do so. It's best to consult with an attorney who primarily concentrates in family law to gain a working knowledge of the process and what to expect."
O'Brien also suggests seeking support from family, friends, a therapist, and/or a financial advisor, and recommends that clients start gathering financial documents, including income documentation, tax returns, and current bank and investment account statements.
O'Brien's office is currently available for meetings via Zoom and phone conferencing. "Business is being conducted as usual, just not in person," she said. "The family law court division is still available via Zoom, and in some rare instances, in person. While it may be a non-traditional method of handling a case, court is still available to parties."
Anyone considering a divorce is urged to find an attorney who understands the client's goals and best interests. "You need to trust your attorney, especially since a divorce affects so many financial and emotional aspects of your life," said O'Brien. "You're putting your life in the attorney’s hands. Don't always trust everything you read on the internet, or what you hear from family and friends. Every case has its own specific set of facts, and each case is unique."
For more information about the first steps in a divorce process, please contact:
Erin Webster O'Brien, Attorney
President, Will County Bar Association