We've all heard of those divorce battles like in the movie The War of the Roses. Should clients look for an attorney who takes no prisoners?

You'll want to avoid that type of lawyer. Although the "win at all costs" approach may sound appealing at the beginning of a case when someone wants revenge, in the end it never pays.


Why not?

If you're looking for the court to punish your spouse, don't. Illinois law doesn't allow wrongdoing as a factor in custody or property awards. These types of attorneys may satisfy an urge for revenge, but they won't effectively represent your interests. If you have children, remember you and your spouse will always be parents; your kids will benefit if you and your ex get along.This applies even after your children are adults. You don't want them feeling torn between two sides. Wouldn't it be nice if they can ask both parents to their grandchild's birthday party? These attorneys rarely consider cost effectiveness. Fighting delays your case and increases costs. The work to be done on a case can and should be looked at like a business, weighing costs against the benefits. There are many tasks that may provide value, but it doesn't pay to do all of them. Clients need to prioritize their goals, and the money they spend on a case should be allocated based upon those stated goals.


What if my spouse controls all our money, how can I get the funds to hire a lawyer?

In Illinois the assets and income of the marriage are to be used to pay attorney fees. If you cannot access your money, whether they are in your name, your spouse's name or tilted jointly, your lawyer may be able to file a request for fees with the court. Requests for fees can be made periodically during the case, including at the beginning and conclusion of your case.


Do attorneys accept credit cards?

Many attorneys do accept credit cards; but it is up to the individual attorney or firm.


How do I find a lawyer if I cannot afford a lawyer?

Most areas have services that provide representation to people who cannot afford a lawyer. A good place to start is local bar associations and law school clinics. They generally have lawyer referral services, both for those who can and cannot afford to pay.