Every family law case is unique, including yours. Michelle M. Truesdale has the knowledge, skill and expertise to handle it.
Michelle practices in several areas of family law which include allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody), appeals, child support, dissolution of marriage (divorce), domestic violence, judgment enforcement, orders of protection, paternity, post-decree (post-judgment) matters, pre-marital or post-marital agreements.
Michelle provides a free consultation to determine whether your needs are best served with legal representation. If your case is already pending and the other party has an attorney representing him/her, you are likely at a disadvantage if you do not retain legal counsel. If you think you may not be able to afford a lawyer, but the other party can, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage statute (750 ILCS 5/101 et seq.) may allow your attorney legal grounds to request contribution towards your attorney’s fees, either in part or in whole, from the other party, whether the other party is your spouse, partner or the parent of your child(ren). Michelle can help walk you through your options so that you are afforded adequate legal counsel to represent your interests. Also, depending on the complexity of the issues in your case, having an understanding of what your rights are and what you may be entitled to under the current law can be difficult if you do not have legal representation. Michelle can also provide you with a financial snapshot of your case given the incomes and debts of both parties. This can be a helpful tool to understanding what you and your spouse, partner or parent of your child(ren) are entitled to in your case. Contact her today to schedule a consultation so that you can make an informed decision regarding legal representation given the issues and circumstances of your case.
It violates Illinois Supreme Court Rules for one attorney to represent more than one party in a family law matter. However, if the major issues between the parties are not contested, it is feasible to have one party be represented by an attorney to draft the necessary paperwork and legal documents for the other party to review and approve in order to get the matter final and to judgment. If any issues become overly complex or contested while the case is pending, the party without legal representation can always consult and hire his/her own counsel at any time. Remember, in family law matters, the more the parties agree and attempt to resolve issues between the two of them without the need for lawyers and court intervention, the more you can save financially.
Bottom line, every case is different. However, if you have a child(ren), their best interests should always be at the forefront. If the circumstances indicate that the child(ren)’s best interests are not being served and depending on factors such as the age of the child(ren), the needs of the child(ren), the living arrangements for the child(ren), and the medical, educational and emotional circumstances of the child(ren), a child representative or guardian ad litem can be appointed by the Court to represent the child(ren) and their best interests. The allocation of the costs of the child representative or guardian ad litem depend on the financial circumstances of the parties and are determined by the Court. But cost should not be the deciding factor if you are concerned the best interests of your child(ren) are not being served in your case. Michelle knows when a child representative or guardian ad litem should be involved given the facts and circumstances of the particular case.
In any pre or post decree case where there are financial issues that arise, the parties fill out and exchange financial affidavits and supporting financial documents. This gives your attorney, the other party (and his/her attorney) and the Court a financial overview of the income, living expenses, debt, assets and insurance information for both parties. During Michelle’s consultation, she provides you with this blank Financial Affidavit to fill out so that you can have ample time to collect and provide the information that the Court will require of both parties. Should you contact her for a consultation, you can print, fill it out and bring this form with you to aid in providing a more thorough explanation of the issues involved in your case.
If you are getting divorced or going through a child support proceeding, you are entitled to get full and complete discovery from your spouse, partner or parent of your child(ren) if you so choose. Likewise, the reverse is also true. So you may be required to answer a series of questions relevant to the case, commonly known as matrimonial interrogatories. You may also be asked to produce documents relevant to your financial circumstances to an allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody issues), or to parenting time issues. These are commonly known as requests to produce. Michelle helps to narrow down the issues that may be contested in your case and make the process of answering and producing formal discovery easier on you. She helps obtain documents you may not have access to through subpoenas and thoroughly reviews the documents you provide to ensure they relate to the specific request. Divorce or support cases should not be overwhelming. Representation by skilled legal counsel, like Michelle, helps the process be less emotionally taxing on you.