Until recently, having an attorney was an all or nothing game. The rules of ethics made it very difficult for an attorney to enter a case for a limited amount of time and for a limited purpose.
Times have changed; and so has the law! The Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct and the Supreme Court Rules of Illinois have been amended to make it easier for attorneys to offer representation that is limited in scope and time.
What does this mean for you? If you have filed your divorce case yourself, or you have filed an appearance in a divorce case, a lawyer can represent you for just a part of that case. Say for example, you have an upcoming hearing on custody that is very important (they almost always are!).
Ask yourself: do you know the rules of procedure? How about the rules of evidence? Do you know how effectively cross-examine a witness? Do you know how to enter documents into evidence? Do you know the legal definition of hearsay why it’s relevant? If your answer to those questions is “no,” you need a lawyer…yesterday – actually months ago.
Whenever there is a hearing, the court will enter an order, which will provide each party with certain rights or obligations. That order will be based on the evidence and arguments presented at hearing. The court is extremely limited in providing certain relief if the proper evidence isn’t properly admitted. And undoing an order you don’t like is VERY difficult. Point being: get a lawyer before the hearing. Not just the night before, or a week before. You should hire your attorney months before an important hearing.
Depending on your financial situation and the facts of your case, you may be well suited for limited scope representation.