Although Lake County Illinois has around 700,000 people in it, it’s court system in some ways is similar to a small town. By that I mean that it’s really a place where if you don’t know the Judge your case is before, you are really fighting with one hand tied behind your back. The is especially true for divorce an family law cases in Lake County.
Those hearings take place at the Waukegan courthouse which is at 18 N. County Street. It’s also known as the 19th Judicial Circuit Court. At the court there are six dedicated Judges for family law cases. They typically get rotated in and out around the first quarter of the year when a new Chief Judge is appointed or occasionally when there is an election.
Currently of the six Judges, two are female and four are male. Naturally all Judges are different and while they are supposed to make rulings based on the law, it’s common sense that everyone has certain biases. Some Judges favor women, others skew toward men.
What is really important for you is to get a lawyer who knows all of these Judges and appears before them on a regular basis. In general, Judges will favor attorneys they deal with on a regular basis over ones that they’ve never met before and aren’t as familiar with how their courtroom works. This is especially true in Lake County. It really has a reputation of favoring the locals. That means you are best served by hiring a lawyer that not only specializes in family law, but also has an office in the county, preferably in or close to Waukegan.
While not every out of town lawyer gets a bad result, over time it’s truly the lawyers who are regularly before these Judges that have clients who end up winning their cases. These lawyers also know the guardian ad litems that are often appointed by the Court and in fact many of these attorneys themselves get appointed as guardians. These relationships truly can be the difference between winning and losing a case.
Beyond that, the best attorneys bill honestly. By that I mean they aren’t going to make false charges for research or claim to be in court on your case for two hours when they are really only there for five minutes. You don’t want to go bankrupt because you filed for divorce or petitioned the court for child support.
And finally, the best lawyer for you depends on you. Some people are more comfortable with a female lawyer. Others want a man. Maybe you need a lawyer experienced with forensic accounting or good at handling QDRO’s. We view our job to learn about your case and then recommend whoever we think is the right fit.
If you’d like to speak to an attorney for free to ask questions or get a referral to a great Lake County family law attorney, please contact us at 312-346-5320.