If you're considering a divorce; need an Order of Protection (restraining order) or defense against one; or need assistance modifying a child support or spousal maintenance order, you will benefit greatly from hiring an attorney who has experience in family law.
During a divorce proceeding, an attorney will ensure all issues are handled, including those a person may not think of which can create problems. "I have been hired to clarify and resolve the vagueness of the parenting terms that were reached during the divorce with self-represented litigants," said Erin Webster O'Brien, family law attorney. "Initially, the parties were getting along and didn't think a specific parenting schedule was necessary, but conflicts arose between them." Other details, such as carrying life insurance for the benefit of the children; specifying a time frame for payment of uncovered children's expenses including daycare, extracurricular, and medical expenses; and allocating tax exemptions are sometimes missed by self-represented litigants unless an attorney is retained who knows to include certain terms as part of the overall settlement.
An attorney can also help clients correctly modify child support or spousal maintenance by knowing the factors which are considered a substantial change in circumstances as required by the law, and an attorney can ensure the proper financial documentation is obtained to set the new amount of child support or spousal maintenance. "I ensure the proper income and deductions are utilized in the calculations," added O'Brien. "Sometimes these issues aren't black-and-white, especially if we’re dealing with bonus, commissions, or overtime income in addition to base income."
When searching for a family law attorney, people should select someone that they're comfortable with. "Several attorneys may have similar credentials, but you need to have chemistry with him or her," said O'Brien. "The client has to trust and have faith in the attorney, and set realistic goals and a strategy for reaching those goals together."
For more information, please contact:
Erin Webster O'Brien, Attorney at Law
President, Will County Bar Association