I do Collaborative and Uncontested Divorce, outside of the Court system, until all is settled as peacefully and respectably as possible with our eyes on the prize of a healthy family dynamic going forward, albeit in two separate households. I do whatever I can to help my clients and their spouses and children get through the divorce without destroying their families financially or emotionally.
I came to this type of practice after my own marriage fell apart, leaving me with two young special needs children whom I wanted to have a Dad for the rest of their lives, never mind that he had been an almost absent Dad up to that time. Prior to the birth of my first child, I practiced high conflict, complicated, family law cases in, primarily, Cook County. During my first year as a lawyer, I was given my first divorce case at a general practice firm, but my client's spouse had withdrawn and hidden over $300,000. When I brought this to the attention of the Judge to whom the case was assigned, I was appointed Special Prosecutor, the spouse was allowed to request a jury trial, which he requested, and I did the first and only (as far as I know) quasi-criminal jury trial in the Family Law Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County. The case took a week, I won, was immediately recruited to a boutique family law firm to do nothing but contentious litigation, which I continued to do for thirteen years, first as an Associate Attorney, then as a Partner, then as the head of my own law firm with two Associate Attorneys and other support staff who worked for me.
Sometime during my litigation days, I had a case involving the CEO and founder of a very large corporation that owned several more corporations. The CEO filed a corporate bankruptcy case in order to stop my proceeding on a Motion to Vacate the Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage based on fraud. Learning a lot about the interrelationship of Divorce and Bankruptcy Law, I went on to lecture about it to members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and published the first chapter on the interrelationship of Divorce and Bankruptcy Law for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, both at the suggestion of my opposing counsel from Jenner & Block. At the time, I was the youngest member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in Illinois.
It has been quite a paradigm shift, going from litigating for the gold ring on every issue to looking out for the best interests of the whole family going forward after the divorce. I find what I do now so much more rewarding, personally and professionally.
Ms Parker is still working on my case buy I’m confident all will go well. I would recommend her services to others
I let them know that I do uncontested and collaborative divorces. I explain the fees and security retainers I hold in a client trust fund account to be drawn out by me 10 days after billing for those services and expenses, unless I hear from my client that there was an error or some problem with the bill, in which case I talk to the client and reach agreement on the amount I should be taking out of their client trust fund account. I tell and confirm by email the next steps to be taken as we move through the process, keeping them updated throughout the divorce process.
I got my JD (doctor of jurisprudence) from Loyola Law School in Chicago in 1985. I did the first, and to my knowledge the only, quasi-criminal jury trial in the Cook County Domestic Relations Division in 1986, and won on all counts (my client's spouse was hiding hundreds of thousands of marital money) for which he was held in indirect contempt of court. I was then recruited to a boutique family law firm where I made partner in less than three years and did all forms of litigation in family law matters until I left to open my own firm. I got my Collabotative Law training certification at Loyola in the fall of 2010 and my mediation training certification shortly thereafter at DePaul Law School. After doing the 11th trial in the country involving international jurisdiction of child custody matters under The Hague Convention, I was asked to do a national continuing legal education seminar video which I did. I published the first Chapter on the Interrelationship of Divorce and Bankruptcy for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education before Collier, the national publisher of all things bankruptcy, did their own chapter on the subject.
I charge $300.00 per hour for my services. I ask for a security retainer in an amount that is based on what I expect to be the minimum it will cost for me to do the service required. For the typical uncontested divorce not requiring QUADROS, I charge a $1,500.00 retainer that does not include court filing fees.
Among others, I won the AmJur (American Jurisprudence Award for the best final exam of the class) in Family Law, which came very easily to me. I also won the same award for Contracts and Remedies. Those, combined with a natural empathetic personality, a year of working for the Departmeny of Health and Human Services doing research and writing legal briefs in support of the position of the Department, and a year working as a law clerk for a top family law firm in Chicago, made me think that this would be the ideal area of practice for me.
All types during most of my career. I even did a presentation for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education on Managing the Difficult Client. These last ten years I've been working with mostly lovely people who just want to get through the divorce process with as much dignity, civility, and respect as possible, with the focus on the best interests of the family as a whole living in two separate households after the divorce, being able to attend graduations, weddings, birthdays and eventually grandchildren's birthdays and other momentous occasions, while working out a fair settlement of all the issues surrounding their divorce on their own time table, as opposed to submitting themselves to the Court process and becoming just another number on some stranger's court docket.
I recently finalized an uncontested divorce for a woman who was so grateful that after the prove up she cried tears of joy as she hugged and thanked me for making something she had so dreaded and feared such a simple step in her life.
Interview two or three attorneys to see who you are most comfortable with.
They should look at their long range goals for their family, then decide on the best path to get themselves there.