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Illinois Family Law Attorneys & Law Firms near Decatur Metro
What Does a Family Law Attorney Do?
A family law attorney generally handles matters that involve the family court system, including family-related issues and domestic relationships. Some of the common practice areas Illinois family lawyers handle include:
- Marital property division
- Prenuptial agreements
- Child custody cases
- Child support
- Parental rights
- Alimony or spousal support
- Domestic violence
- Restraining orders
- Estate planning
- Juvenile dependency
- Juvenile delinquency
- Child abuse
Family lawyers may work in many capacities, including as a private lawyer in a small family law firm, a family law lawyer in a big firm, for county or state government agencies, in nonprofit organizations, or as a state attorney. Attorneys act as advocates for their clients, which may include representing the interests of a minor child in child abuse or juvenile dependency hearings.
Do Family Law Attorneys Handle Divorce?
A large part of family law practice involves divorce. Divorce can be a difficult process, especially when the couple is in dispute over how to handle the separation. A contested divorce can get complicated when emotions are involved, often involving money problems or infidelity. Divorce is a major life-changing event and it can be difficult to navigate on your own.
In general, a divorce lawyer can only represent one spouse in a divorce. There is a conflict of interest in trying to represent both spouses. When you find a family law attorney, your attorney will act as an advocate for you and advise you in your best interests.
In an uncontested divorce, a family law attorney can help their client prepare the divorce order, with all the issues settled between the couple, including division of property and child custody and visitation. In an uncontested divorce, there is nothing left for the court to decide and the court may issue the final divorce court order after making sure the couple has met all the statutory requirements to legally end the marriage.
In a contested divorce, there may be a dispute over many issues, including property, alimony, and child custody. If the couple cannot settle these issues through negotiations or mediation, it may be left up to the family court judge to decide how to settle the disputes. Contested divorces can take longer and be more expensive for each spouse.
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How Much Does a Lawyer Cost in Illinois?
In Illinois, a general estimate of the per-hour cost for a lawyer can range from about $130 to $400 per hour, depending on location, expertise and the complexity of the case in question.
In some cases, attorneys may opt to offer clients a flat-rate fee instead of a per-hour fee. This typically arises in criminal defense law as well as certain divorce court proceedings. A fee for a misdemeanor defense is usually far less than the flat fee for a felony defense. Representation on issues related to juvenile offenses and traffic offenses may cost you less than the representation on situations involving corporate law or bankruptcies.
Finally, certain lawyers, such as personal injury lawyers, typically offer clients representation based on contingency. If you win a settlement from such a case, such as slipping and falling at a business establishment and incurring a serious injury, your personal injury lawyer will retain a percentage of your total settlement, rather than charging you any per-hour or flat-rate fees.
If you cannot afford representation in a legal matter, legal aid may be an option to consider.
What Types of Cases Can an Illinois Lawyer Help With?
While an Illinois lawyer can take on cases of any sort, the most common criminal cases in Illinois involve simple assault or aggravated assault, sexual assault, violations of the Controlled Substances Act, burglary (business and residential), driving while under the influence (DUI) and severe violent crime such as homicide and armed robbery.
Illinois lawyers are also typically called upon to represent parties in marital disputes leading to divorce or separation, the custody battles common to such cases, and other civil proceedings.