For Illinois Divorce Lawyers Only
updated 26 June 2019
by Wes Cowell
I went solo out of law school and on my very first day, my very first client . . . brought a divorce case. If anyone had told me that I'd end up being a divorce lawyer, I think I probably would have quit law school and gone into the trades. It was a big, nasty case that had been going on for more than a year and featured an opponent with decades of experience and a reputation of being very knowledgable and exceedingly capable. The couple had two beautiful kids over whom they fought passionately and there were millions of dollars at stake. I was terrified. I researched everything. My opponent once called to ask if I would agree to continue a particular hearing . . . I stayed up until 2:00 AM researching "continuances" (this was in the days before internet research).
Thanks to that fear-induced research, I scored some big victories in that case and others, and I learned a lot. One of the things I learned was that I really enjoyed practicing in the domestic relations courts. Since then I've focused my practice exclusively in the area of matrimonial and family law. Another thing I learned is that the law is HUGE -- it's really hard to keep an organized understanding of what does and does not fit together, what the prerequisites are for this, what the definition is for that, and the standard of proof for just about anything. I've spent a lot of time researching things that I had researched before -- research I wish I had just written down somewhere and been able to quickly and easily find when I needed it . . . instead of starting anew.
Over the decades I've come across a lot of helpful language in a lot of cases. I know how frustrating it can be to try to remember "that one quote from that one paragraph . . . you know, in that one case . . . what was it? 'Abaya?' 'Alaya?' 'Abalaya?' Which appellate district was that from, again?" When I'm faced with those frustrations today, I remember that terrified novice lawyer and all the researching he had to do . . . and the researching he did that he didn't have to do. "Wouldn't it be great" I think "if there were an elegantly organized website that collected and reported the salient bits of law important to Illinois divorce lawyers?"
So, for the benefit of myself and all the other Illinois divorce lawyers -- especially the younger ones -- here I try to organize those ideas and authorities that should hold a special place in the hearts and minds of us all.
CAVEAT: If you don't quickly find that one quote from that one case, please let me know. It'll help me better organize these pages for others. And if you have a suggestion for an addition, please pass it along -- I appreciate all the help I can get.