Why should a person hire an attorney that specializes in divorce?
Because while many lawyers think divorce work is easy, it is not as simple as it may seem. There are many issues unique to divorce such as division and valuation of pensions, business valuation, and custody issues and procedures.
How can a potential client be best prepared for their first meeting with you?
By having a good general idea of what assets and liabilities the couple has and knowing the special issues applicable to the children.
What type of questions should a client ask a potential attorney?
What are the procedures? What should I expect from the court and the other side? What can I do to reduce the time you have to put into the case?
What type of questions do you ask your potential client during the first meeting?
I ask the facts of the marriage, the assets and liabilities, the facts about the children, including any special needs, their education, their relationship with each parent.
What should a woman do if she is not getting a response from her attorney and feels as if the attorney does not care about her case?
She should change attorneys. We try to return calls promptly and we almost always do so within 24 hours, if not the same day.
Is it possible for a woman to stay on her spouse’s health insurance if it is listed in the divorce decree? If not, do you recommend having the spouse pay for her health insurance, and if so, for how long?
She can have insurance through her husband’s employer through COBRA for 36 months after divorce, but must pay the premiums, which are higher since the employer will not be paying for part of it. She can negotiate having the husband pay the premiums but it should be by reimbursing her or adding it to other support.
Many women report that their husbands are narcissists and trying to bully them into settling for nothing or hiding assets. What advice would you give these women?
She needs to let the lawyer negotiate and not try to do it herself, but she needs to inform her attorney of any bullying she gets from her husband.
Do you recommend mediation to your clients? Can you explain what mediation is and how a person can best prepare for it?
Mediation can be very helpful in many cases, though good, ethical lawyers try to settle cases. Clients need to confer with their attorneys before and during mediation because many clients think the mediator will advise them or not let their husbands be unfair. This is not so; the mediator’s task is to get an agreement, not to be the arbiter of what is fair or consistent with the law.
Are demographic and socioeconomic statistics pertinent when a woman wants to relocate with her children?
In Illinois a divorcing or divorced parent cannot move out of state with the children without court permission. The burden is on the person trying to move to show that the benefit to the children and the family outweigh the disadvantage to the other parent. So I would say that demographics would only be relevant as to things like quality of schools or crime rates.
Is it wise for a woman to date before her divorce is final?
Here are the only problems with dating before the divorce is final:
1) it will piss off your husband; 2) you should not do so in such a way as to let your children know you have a romantic relationship with anyone; or 3) if you are absolutely suicidal, have your children refer to your boyfriend as “dad.” Not a good idea.
I hope you don’t mind the sarcasm, but you’d be surprised how often it happens. The real key is not to give your husband a weapon or motive to make things difficult and to consider the fact that your children don’t want a new father.
111 W. Washington #1625, Chicago;
1301 W. 22nd St., #603, Oak Brook, IL
Your Website: www.longwell-law.com
Years in Practice: 40
Is there anything else that you would like potential clients to know about you?
I try to work in partnership with my clients: to discuss issues with them and to furnish them with enough information to make the decisions in the case which will affect their lives and their children’s lives.