Avvo 1-on-1 is a new Avvo question-and-answer article series featuring candid interviews with attorneys in various specific fields of law. The goal of this series is to humanize intimidating law topics for the everyday person through stories, anecdotes, and other real-life experiences shared by attorneys.
Our next installment features Dean Taradash, a divorce and family law attorney practicing in Illinois.
Taradash attended Chicago-Kent College of Law. He has been practicing for 21 years with a focus on divorce and family law. Taradash is also a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem and Child Representative representing children in divorce and parentage proceedings.
What are the first legal steps a client should take after they decide they want to separate from their spouse?
A spouse contemplating separating from his/her spouse should reach out to a reputable attorney and ask for an initial consultation; many lawyers offer a free consultation. Additionally, he/she should begin obtaining and organizing important documents, tax returns, employment records, and retirement account statements.
What can a client expect when hiring a divorce attorney?
A client should expect that his/her divorce attorney will explain the divorce process to the client. Once the client retains the attorney, the client’s problems become the attorney’s problems. The client should feel that he/she now has a zealous advocate to fight for their rights. The attorney should advise the client on what to expect, provide possible timelines, and prepare the client, psychologically, for how the process plays out. The attorney may ask many tough questions to prepare the client. Divorce is tough and can get messy and therefore, it is vital to the attorney/client relationship that there be complete transparency.
How has this pandemic affected your practice? Have you seen an increase or decline in clients?
The pandemic has caused a decline in retaining new clients. The pandemic has shown that lawyers can work remotely and still be productive.
Do you expect to see a rise in divorce during a lockdown?
I do not expect to see a rise in divorce during a lockdown. I believe that once the lockdown ends and people can get back to work that there will be an increase in new case filings.
What advice would you give to a victim who is unhappy but unwilling to go through with a divorce?
If you are a victim of abuse, then you should immediately seek help. Staying in an abusive relationship is not safe. In most cases, it gets worse. I would advise a victim that life is short, and everyone deserves to be happy and to be treated with respect. If you are in an abusive relationship, get out. Contact a reputable attorney and discuss the best way to approach your situation.
What should a person do if they wish to separate from their partner but do not have the finances to hire an attorney?
Call several attorneys as many offer creative payment plans. If that does not work, there are several organizations that do not charge for their services or work on a sliding scale.
What should a person do if they’re unhappy in a relationship but afraid they may lose their children in the divorce process?
A parent does not lose their children by filing for divorce. I believe it is also a mistake for parents to stay together for the kids. Kids are smart; pick up on tension and strife. It is better to have a good divorce than a bad marriage. Marriage does not have to be acrimonious. Find a lawyer who believes in fighting for your rights but not necessarily one who will start fights to keep the meter running.
Is there an underlying reason the public is not aware of that results in the wife receiving, what some may consider, unbalanced benefits during a divorce?
I don’t believe that women receive unbalanced benefits during a divorce. This statement was true many years ago, but not today. There are many more men who stay home and raise the kids, while the women are the breadwinners. This was not the case 50 years ago. Are there still inherent biases in judges? Of course, we’re human. But overall, I see that both parties get fair shakes in court.