During this tumultuous time, your mind is in no doubt racing with questions. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about the divorce process which can be the cause of great distress and concern for a potential client. Gwendolyn J. Sterk and the Family Law Group is here to make the process easier. It is our goal to help educate you about the realities of a divorce action, estate planning, or any other family law matter you may be facing. We strongly recommend that you schedule a consultation appointment with our Group in order to address your specific concerns and answer your questions in detail. The consultation appointment is free and will give you an opportunity to discuss your specific situation. In the interim, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions that may help settle your nerves prior to your meeting with us. These questions might also prompt you to note other issues that you may want addressed at the time of your consultation.
Please take some time to review the items below and make a list of any additional questions you would like addressed at the time of your meeting. This will help ensure that the time spent in your consultation is comprehensive and focuses on your specific concerns. During the initial consultation, you will receive a lot of information in a short period of time. Although it can be overwhelming, reviewing this list of frequently asked questions, as well as the other information contained in our web site, will help give you a general overview of what to expect during your consultation. This is a great way to prepare for your meeting with us. We are here to help you and feel confident that our team will be able to provide you with the legal answers for which you are looking.
Our firm has a unique team approach to handling your case. You are not simply assigned to one person who exclusively handles your file. Members of our team work together in a concerted effort relative to your case to maximize the best service possible on your behalf. Our clients are able to contact any member of our team ensuring prompt, individual attention. We understand the importance of getting your questions answered as soon as possible, and we strive to return every client phone call within 24 to 48 hours.
We approach each case in a comprehensive, holistic manner. We not only work toward a reasonable legal resolution, but provide access to outside resources as well. It is our collective goal to help stabilize your overall future following any significant change in your family structure.
Each and every client is offered a one-time FREE confidential consultation with an attorney in our Family Law Group.
Usually, you will be able to get in to meet with one of our attorneys within several days. Call our office immediately and we will work with you to schedule a mutually agreeable time for you to come in for an appointment.
The consultation appointment usually lasts about 30 minutes. However, if you decide to retain our services that same day, your appointment may be longer.
Yes, we recommend that you come in about 10-15 minutes early, as there will be some documentation that you will need to complete prior to meeting with one of our attorneys. However, the same documentation is also available here on our web site; therefore, if you have the ability, you can download, review and complete both the Statement of Client’s Rights and Responsibilities as well as the Divorce Information Sheet prior to your appointment.
No. As the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time may be an issue, we do not believe that it is appropriate for your children to be present during meetings involving your case, including your consultation.
Absolutely not. We can only represent one of you, therefore, we will only meet with you individually at the time of the consultation. If your spouse chooses to represent him or herself as an unrepresented litigant (acting as his/her own attorney), then our office can directly communicate with them, just like an opposing counsel. However, our office will not give legal advice to anyone other than our client.
No, your consultation is confidential.
No you do not. We encourage you to take your time to make a decision about whether or not to retain an attorney. When you feel comfortable and ready to proceed with our office, simply call us and we will assist you from there. When you make the call, make sure to mention that you previously had a consultation appointment so we can review your Divorce Information Sheet and help you get started.
Once you make the decision to proceed, the next step is to retain the same day as your consultation or to schedule an appointment with a member of our staff. They will meet with you to go over our office procedures and what is required to file the initial documentation with the Court.
Your action is filed in the County in which you reside. Therefore, if you reside in Plainfield, your case would more than likely be filed in Will County. Same is true for DuPage and Cook Counties. The action is filed in the Circuit Clerk’s Office of that particular county. The address and location information for Will County, Cook County and DuPage County are as follows:
Cook County Courthouse
The Richard J. Daley Center
50 W. Washington
Chicago, IL 60602
Will County Courthouse
14 W. Jefferson
Joliet, IL 60432
DuPage County Courthouse
505 N. County Farm Road
Wheaton, IL 60187
Once you retain our firm to represent you, we will handle all required court filings and court appearances. You will not need to be present in Court for the majority of your scheduled court dates as we will appear for you on your behalf.
No, legally it is not relevant. However, there may be practical or logistical reasons for filing first. We will develop a strategy with you in that regard during your initial consultation.
As a general rule of thumb, there is no advantage to ignore or evade service of legal documents. Further, it is imperative that if served, you seek the advice of counsel. If you have already been served with documentation, please contact us immediately to schedule an initial consultation.
If you have a genuine concern that your spouse may deny you access to marital funds, you can take steps to protect your interests. At the initial consultation, we will explore options with you regarding the marital assets, which can include a possible financial restraining order to protect yourself.
If you feel as though your life is being threatened, your first step should be to call 911. If you are not in imminent harm, we recommend that you contact our office to schedule a consultation to further discuss this subject.
Each and every case is different, therefore, the amount of time it will take to reach a resolution is not easily determined. The duration of the process will always depend on the individual circumstances of your individual matter. At your consultation, we can address this question further.
First and foremost, call 911.
Secondly, an Order of Protection can be obtained through the Court to those in need of protection. On an urgent basis, an Order of Protection can be requested from the Court before you ever file a family law action. We can address this at your consultation, but in no way should you avoid seeking immediate help if you are in imminent harm.
As a general rule, you can elect to hire new counsel as you have the right to be represented by an attorney of your choice. Contact our office for a free consultation to explore these options.
Our Group recognizes that hiring an attorney and being involved in a legal action can be a huge financial burden. That is why our Group believes in a Team approach to managing your case. Every client has an opportunity to be a proactive member of the team and take steps that will help save us time, and in turn help our clients save money. Please refer to the Tips section under the “Words of Wisdom” for a list of just a few ways to help keep your costs down once you have retained our firm.
Yes, our first goal is to amicably resolve parenting disputes. However, we recognize that there are those instances where the Courts are forced to make a decision about the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time and care of your children. Our office will walk you through the entire process and advocate on your behalf consistent with the best interest of the children. At your consultation, we will explore options and advise as to the steps in this process.
This question is not a simple inquiry to answer. There are many variables that affect the payment of child support. However, Illinois views child support as a supreme right of a child, and both parents have a duty to support their children. That being said, your best option is to contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your specific situation.
In Illinois, maintenance is formally known as alimony and is also known as spousal support. The issue of maintenance/spousal support is complex and varies greatly depending on the facts of the case. You need to schedule a consultation so that one of our attorneys can address this particular issue with you.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, at the time of the consultation we will discuss with you a strategy as to when and how your spouse will be told you filed for divorce.
It does not matter if your spouse has already hired an attorney. Once you retain our office, we will contact your spouse’s attorney and deal directly with that individual so that you need not take any further action on your own.
There are times and circumstances where a legal separation is appropriate and times and circumstances when it only delays the inevitable. At your consultation, we will address this issue and explore your options.
Believe it or not, this is not uncommon. If this is the case, we will take the necessary legal steps to ensure that you gain access to financial records and that you obtain a working knowledge of the financial affairs of your marriage.