Please click on one of the following practice areas to view the FAQs on that particular area of law.
Q: I just got arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Do I need a lawyer?
A: The State automatically suspends the driver’s license in certain DUI cases. For example, if the petitioner refused to take the breathalyzer examination or the test results were in excess of the appropriate legal limits, the State will suspend the petitioner’s driver’s license for 6 or up to 36 months in addition to charging them with a DUI. Persons charged with DUIs may beat the DUI charges but still lose their license because they are not entitled to a Public Defender representation for this civil matter.
Q: My Driver's License got suspended for child support/parking tickets/law of auto insurance/etc. Is this serious?
A: Yes! Even though a license can be suspended for non-criminal reasons, the individual can still be charged with a felony based on a Suspended or Revoked License.
Q: I am seeking to get a Divorce and there are no assets to split between me and my spouse. Why would I need a lawyer to represent me?
A: Often, if there are no assets to split between two spouses AND no children, many people chose not to hire an attorney to represent them. Sometimes this works out for the parties and sometimes it doesn't. The problem is that there is still complicated paperwork that needs to be filed, mandatory waiting periods, and specific language that must be included in a Judgment of Dissolution - and the Court's won't help you. If you have a simple, uncontested divorce with no children, you may still hire an attorney at a lower rate. Often, attorneys will offer a flat-fee for their services which will include drafting and filing of all the paperwork, guidance through the Court system and proper entry of your divorce, but not in-court representation. The benefit to this service is that you will become divorced properly and will be able to do it with a much lower cost in attorneys fees.
Q: My wife is pregnant but we have been separated so I know the child is not mine. Am I still considered the Father?
A: Yes. Any child born or conceived during the marriage is deemed automatically by the Court to be a product of the marriage (i.e. Wife is the mother and Husband is the father). It is important to get an attorney when filing for divorce (no matter whether you are the Wife or the Husband) so that the proper Motions and paperwork establish that the Husband is not the father of the child. If the proper paperwork is not filed, Husband will be considered the Father and will be entitled to visitation/custody and may be required to pay child support.
Q: I have a child and am thinking about filing for child support. Can I get child support for the years before I file?
A: It depends, but it is possible. In paternity cases, the Courts will allow child support to be retroactive all the way back to the birth of the child.
Q: I am a father of my child and my name is listed on my child's birth certificate. Can I get visitation?
A: It is important to note that the Courts will not necessarily recognize a father as the legal father of a child unless: (1) an affidavit of parentage is signed by both parties or (2) a paternity suit is initiated and the Court determines who the father is.
Q: Do I really need a will?
A: No; however, there are lots of advantages to having a Will. With a Will, you can control how your estate is dispersed after your death. You can set up a plan that carries out your wishes. Without a Will, the Court system will decide who should get what (even your personal items) and this may not be in accordance with your wishes. It is also important to have a Will so that when you do pass, your loved ones know how you want your possessions and property taken care of.
Q: A family member just passed away. Do I need to start a probate case?
A: In the vast majority of cases, yes. If there is a Will, then a probate case is required. However, even if there is no Will, if there are any possessions, property, or assets, then a probate case must be started so that the Court's can be sure that the estate has properly transferred to the heirs of your loved one. It is important to note that opening a probate case does not mean that the Courts are going to control the distribution of possessions and assets. Instead, the function of the Courts the majority of the time is to make sure that the possessions and assets are in fact distributed and to hear a dispute should one arise.
Q: My family member passed and doesn't have any assets, personal property or real property. Is there anything I still need to do?
A: Yes. There are lots of procedures that need to be carried out once a loved one passes. For example, if that person worked at all and had any income, then a Tax ID needs to be obtained and income taxes must still be filed (even if your family member only worked 1 day that year).
It is very important to consult with an attorney both before death to plan the estate and after a family member passes so that all the procedures, paperwork, and requirements are fulfilled.
Q: My Landlord didn't return my Security Deposit. Am I entitled to get money from him?
A: Yes. When a tenant properly vacates the premise at the end of the lease period (or in some circumstances even prior to the end of the lease period), the landlord is required to (1) return the security deposit OR (2) provide an accounting of why the security deposit was not returned. If you have been denied your security deposit, it is important to consult with an attorney. You may be entitled to two times the amount of your security deposit, plus interest. Also, you may be able to have your attorney's fees paid by the landlord.
Q: There are lots of things wrong with my apartment and the landlord won't fix them. Can I just stop paying rent or leave?
A: It depends and it is important to speak with an attorney before you do anything. Under the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance, there are many things a tenant can do; however, proper procedures have to be followed or the tenant may be liable for monetary damages.
Q: I lost my case in the Circuit Court and am thinking about appealing the decision. Should I consult with an attorney?
A: Yes! If you are thinking about appealing a decision from the Circuit Court, it is important to consult with an attorney right away because the time to file the Appeal is a small window.
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