If you’re searching for a Chicago attorney to represent you in divorce and/or child custody matter, you’re probably wondering whether you’ll get a free consultation.
The answer is, it depends on the lawyer.
The most common scenario is for family law attorneys to charge you for the initial consultation, and then simply apply that cost towards your retainer, if you indeed hire them.
For example, if a Chicago divorce attorney provides you with a 1 hour consultation, and their hourly rate is $250, you could expect to be billed $250.
However, that amount would then be deducted from the attorney’s retainer fee once you become a client. So, if the lawyer’s retainer is $5,000, they would bill you $4,750 instead.
That being said, there are family law attorneys who will actually consult with you about your divorce for free.
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Regardless of whether you pay for a consultation, or manage to get one for free, it’s important that you know what information to gather, and what questions to ask of your potential attorney.
Questions to Ask During a Consultation with a Chicago Family Law Attorney
Divorce lawyers in Chicago offering a free consultation may provide a time limit to answer questions and assess the facts of your case during the consultation. Therefore, prioritizing your questions ensures you get answers to your most important ones. Consult the list below for possible questions to consider when meeting a family law attorney in Chicago offering a free consultation.
Provide your prospective family court lawyer all the facts during your free consultation. With this knowledge, the attorney may assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case. If you understand the strengths of your case, you can discuss possible methods to help you achieve your goals. Additionally, understanding the weaknesses of your position ensures little surprises arise throughout your dissolution proceedings.
No attorney can predict the future. However, presenting a client with possible outcomes, both good and bad, represents a realistic approach to a dissolution proceeding. No one wants to lose. However, the possibility may exist in some cases. Therefore, to eliminate surprises for their client, an attorney should present you with all outcome scenarios. An experienced divorce lawyer in Chicago providing a free consultation should never promise a specific outcome.
Understanding the fees related to your divorce case is always at the forefront of most client concerns. The cost of dissolution proceedings adds up quickly, particularly when the parties to the divorce share children and complex finances. Disagreements on issues result in considerable time in court and work on the part of your attorney.
Therefore, it’s important to discuss your budget for your dissolution proceeding and how you hope to proceed. In addition to outlining anticipated legal fees, your free consultation should include discussions about required fees for filing documents with the court, service of process on your ex-spouse, and other necessary expenses included in all dissolution proceedings.
Divorce lawyers in Illinois offering a free consultation can vary from solo practitioners to attorneys in large firms. Consider what type of lawyer you would like handling your case. While the many different attorneys offer different benefits, discussion with your attorney should include a question about what other parties may work on your case.
A substantial staff of various paralegals and legal assistants may handle aspects of your case for larger firms. By contrast, there may only be one paralegal or assistant in a small firm or perhaps even an associate attorney handling certain aspects of your case. Understanding who you may speak to on specific issues clears communication gaps or frustrations you may feel if unable to reach your attorney directly.
Understanding when your attorney plans to update you on the stages of your case may also arise during your free consultation with a family attorney. An attorney may communicate before hearings and other matters so you understand what lies ahead. Additionally, an attorney may communicate promptly after any issues arise.
You may also wish to speak with your attorney on other matters related to your dissolution. Communication with your attorney regarding their schedule and availability to discuss matters will help you determine whether you can count on your attorney to attend to your concerns promptly.
All experienced divorce lawyers in Chicago offering a free consultation understand that there is no way to determine exactly how long a case may take to resolve. However, based on the facts of any case, an attorney may provide potential clients with an estimated timetable based on past cases with similar fact patterns.
General Questions to Ask About the Attorney
In addition to questions related to your case, you may wish to ask questions about the potential attorney. These questions may include those on the list below and provide insight into this particular family law attorney’s character. While these questions assist in determining whether a potential family law attorney is right for you, never underestimate the value of feeling comfortable with the attorney you choose.
Possessing a good working relationship with your family law attorney alleviates any additional stress as you navigate your way through an already emotional and life-changing situation.
How Many Years Have You Been in Practice?
In discussions with your potential attorney, determine how many years they have been in practice—not only in the practice of law but also in the practice of family law. All attorneys in the Vantage Group Legal network possess a minimum of seven years of experience in their particular field of law.
How Much of Your Practice Is Dedicated to Family Law?
Understanding the field of law your potential attorney regularly practices represents an important question to ask during your family attorney free consultation. For example, if your potential attorney practices exclusively in fields of child dependency law and you need a divorce attorney, you may not wish to proceed with this lawyer.
If you learn from your family court lawyer during your free consultation that they regularly represent parties in dissolution proceedings, you may feel more inclined to proceed with that person.
Who Is Your Typical Client?
Often in dissolution proceedings, parties prioritize concerns regarding the average cost of divorce they may expect. In discussions during your free consultation with a divorce lawyer in Chicago, inquire about the typical client the attorney regularly represents. If the attorney typically represents high-income clients with significant net worth, which does not accurately represent your financial disposition, you may wish to look elsewhere.
What Are Your Fees? How Are They Billed?
Many clients prioritize this question due to budgetary concerns throughout the dissolution process. Attorneys often require retainer payments as advance payments for future services. If you learn during your free consultation that the attorney requires a retainer payment beyond your means, you will quickly understand you must look elsewhere.
It’s also important to understand the hourly billing procedure for the potential attorney. Many attorneys have support staff like paralegals and legal assistants charging their own hourly rate for the assistance they may provide you. Communication of these facts ensures no surprises.
How Vantage Group Legal Can Help
Vantage Group Legal offers potential clients a unique service unlike any other. Initially, clients contact our office and speak to our in-house counsel either in-person or virtually. We review the details of your case to serve you and your needs best. With our subscription-based legal service, once you sign up, our in-house legal experts study your case and match you with a specialized attorney in our network based on your needs, concerns, and goals.
We match most clients within 24 hours. Vantage Group Legal takes the guesswork out of free consultations with family attorneys and searches for you! In addition to your network attorney handling all aspects of your case, our team at Vantage Group Legal offers secondary assistance to clients through support, case monitoring, and documentation. Contact Vantage Group Legal today for a free case review!