I want a divorce. Where do I start?


By Marvin Mendez, Divorce and Family Law Attorney

Divorce is hard. It takes energy, time and money—but an excellent attorney can make things easier along the way. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t know where to start or are simply looking for reassurance about the process, keep reading. I break down what you should consider when looking for an attorney and what to expect once you’ve found one.

  1. Compatibility: Trust and a good rapport are essential when working with an attorney. Take the time to find someone you feel comfortable with and who instills confidence in you. You may get lucky and connect with the first attorney you contact, or you may need to meet with a few before you find the right one.
    It’s also important to align with your attorney’s style. Divorce attorneys aren’t created equal. Identify what qualities are important to you. If compassion is a priority, look for an attorney known for their empathy and active listening. If you have a high-conflict divorce, you may better align with an assertive, no-nonsense personality.
  2. Cost and Availability: For many people, factors such as cost and accessibility are of the utmost importance when finding an attorney. Don’t be shy! Ask your attorney what their availability will be like throughout your case, and make sure you understand their fee structure and full scope of services. Having a good grasp of this information from the start will help empower you as you navigate your divorce.
  3. Consultation: When finding the right attorney, one of the first steps is an introductory meeting. During this time, you can further feel out the attorney’s personality and style – and discuss the reasons you’re seeking a divorce, your concerns and questions, and your goals. Your attorney should explain the legal process of divorce in Illinois, including your rights and responsibilities, and the previously mentioned information about their fee structure and process.
  4. Retain Services: Once you’re ready to move forward, you’ll need to retain the attorney’s services. This usually involves signing a retainer agreement and paying an upfront retainer fee. The retainer fee may vary depending on the complexity of your case and the attorney’s experience.
  5. Case Discovery: Your attorney will then begin working on your case. This involves gathering all information and documentation related to your marriage, assets, income and other relevant factors.
  6. Settlement vs. Court: Your attorney will communicate with your spouse’s attorney, if applicable, and negotiate on your behalf to try to reach a settlement agreement. If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will represent you in court proceedings. This may include attending hearings, presenting evidence and arguing your case before a judge. Throughout the process, your attorney will provide guidance, advice and support to help you navigate the legal system and achieve the best possible outcome.

Here to Support You Every Step of the Way

Whether you’re in the initial stages of considering a divorce or ready to take action, I’d be honored to help you. I’ve worked in the legal field for nearly 25 years and practiced law for more than 12. I am incredibly passionate about creating a safe and supportive environment where you can share your concerns and ideas in complete confidence. My approach is client-centered and results-oriented—ensuring your interests are heard, protected and advocated for, every step of the way.

If you’re ready to learn more about how we can work together, please reach out today. We can meet at our new office at the Davis Center in Evanston, or at our offices in Chicago, Lake Forest or Oak Brook.

Schedule time with Marvin

For a free consultation, call Stern Perkoski Mendez at (847) 868-9584 or contact us.