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  • 847-742-0420
  • 40 N. Airlite Street, Suite 3, Elgin, IL 60123
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

kane county attorneys

Elgin, IL Attorney with Over 30 Years of Experience

  • How much will my case cost?

    Not only is this one of the most common questions a client will ask, it is also one of the two hardest questions to answer. Since no two cases are exactly alike and no two clients are exactly alike, the total fees for any case can vary widely. During your initial office conference, once we obtain more information from you, we may be in a better position to give you an estimate or even an exact amount.

    We are keenly aware that you will want to minimize your fees and we will do our best to do so. At Canning Law Offices, we approach every case from a cost/benefit point of view. If we feel that the benefit of a particular course of action is not worth the fees you will incur, we will: let you know that, explain why and recommend a less expensive option. Then you can decide for yourself which course of action is appropriate for you.

  • How long will my case take?

    This is the second (see the first FAQ above) of the two most difficult questions for any attorney to answer. Again, since no two cases and no two clients are exactly alike, the total amount of time necessary to complete your case will vary. Many of the factors which will determine the length of your case are beyond the lawyer's control. However, at Canning Law Offices we know you are anxious to get this behind you, so you can rest assured that we will do our best to complete your case in a prompt and timely fashion.

  • What is your firm's policy regarding protection of minor children?

    At Canning Law Offices, we reserve the absolute right to refuse to take any action or defend any position which we feel will put a child in harm's way. If a client requests that we do something which we believe may possibly hurt a child, we will refuse to do it and encourage the client to take an alternate course. If the client insists on us doing so, we will quit as their attorney. We will do nothing which will directly or indirectly cause harm to a child.

  • In emergency situations, can I call you at home?

    Absolutely. Not only is my home phone number listed but we also provide it in our employment contract. In those extreme situations where you absolutely need to have an answer now, we would prefer that you call us at home rather than possibly making a dangerous decision or staying awake panicking. Please note that extra fees are assessed for phone calls made to a lawyer's residence and, therefore, you should use this as a last resort.

  • In your Wills for Charity program, when you say all monies, that means after you take out your fees, right?

    No. When we say all fees generated from preparing a will is donated to charity, we mean all fees. If you pay us $300, we give $300 to charity. We keep nothing.

  • I am involved with a not-for-­profit in the area, is it possible we can qualify for organization your Wills for Charity program?

    Absolutely. Please feel free to contact us and we'll be happy to talk about the possibility of a joint fundraiser for your organization. Please note however that because of time restraints, personal beliefs and other factors, not all not-­for-­profit organizations will qualify but we look forward to hearing from you.

  • I have a very difficult work schedule. Can you accommodate me for office appointments?

    Absolutely. We hate it when a client has to take time off from work to meet with us. When you call to schedule your appointment, let our staff know your working hours and we will do our very best to accommodate you.

  • Do you bill for the cost of postage, copying, faxing or gas to and from court?

    No. We do not bill for any of those expenses and you should avoid any lawyer that does.

  • Is there any chance that my case will be assigned to a younger or less experienced lawyer?

    Absolutely not. Some firms will have you initially meet with the senior partner and then, once you hire that firm, will hand your file off to a younger, less experienced associate. We at Canning Law Offices do not believe in this type of bait and switch. The lawyer you meet with will be the lawyer that represents you.

  • Is it better to negotiate a settlement or go to trial?

    At Canning Law Offices we believe it is in a client's best interest to resolve their case as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Trials tend to be costly, time consuming and sometimes can have unpredictable, if not devastating, results. Therefore, in most cases we feel that it is best to negotiate a settlement rather than proceeding to a trial. By negotiating a settlement, we can frequently minimize the costs for our client and eliminate the risk altogether of a surprisingly bad outcome.

    Although a trial is normally a matter of last resort, in some cases it simply cannot be avoided. While we make every attempt to be reasonable during our negotiations, sometimes our attempts will be met with repeated unreasonable counteroffers. In those cases, we will recommend that our client reject those offers, explain why they are not in their best interests and advise that a trial is now required. At that time, we will take off the gloves, go toe to toe, and battle it out fiercely at trial. At Canning Law Offices we are proud to say that over the last 30 years our negotiating skills have been extremely successful in keeping those type of cases to a minimum.

  • In a divorce case, can you represent both me and my spouse?

    No. At no time can a lawyer represent both parties in any lawsuit and a divorce is a type of lawsuit. This does not necessarily mean that you need two attorneys in your case. At Canning Law Offices we frequently represent one party while the other party technically represents themselves. These types of cases are always completed faster and cheaper than cases involving two attorneys. However, it is important to note that we cannot give legal advice to the party who is representing themselves and they should not consider us to be their attorney. We can prepare certain paperwork they will need to file not because we represent them, but because we represent you and you have instructed us to prepare those documents for them. This option is a good choice for parties who can communicate and work well with each other in resolving all the issues in their divorce.

    Warning: This option is only appropriate if you are the one represented by counsel. You should be aware that it is very easy for an experienced divorce lawyer to take advantage of an unrepresented party. We actually saw a case where one of the spouses was forced to sleep in their car because they were taken so advantage of in their divorce case.

    So, if your questions is: Do I need a lawyer?, the answer is absolutely yes. If your questions is: Does my spouse need a lawyer?, the answer is not necessarily. Should this be an option that you and your spouse are considering, we invite you to contact us and schedule an initial consultation so we can discuss the situation in detail. The initial consultation is free.

  • How will my child support be determined?

    In most cases, your child support will depend upon the number of your minor children. Illinois has enacted a minimum statutory guideline which provides that child support be established at 20% of the payor's net income for one child, 28% for two, 32% for three, etc. The percentage tops at 50% for six or more children. The courts can deviate either upwards or downwards in a particular case if there are extenuating circumstances.

  • Is it possible to have your child support increased?

    Absolutely. Under Illinois law, you can increase your child support whenever there has been a substantial change of circumstances. At Canning Law Offices we recommend that the recipient of child support make an appointment to see us every 3 to 4 years to determine whether an increase would be appropriate. Increasing child support is frequently a minor and inexpensive process. Unfortunately, far too many parents forgo this right and loose thousands of dollars that could be available for the children's care. Should you be interested in increasing your child support, please call us at 847-742-0420 and schedule an appointment at your convenience.

  • What is maintenance?

    Maintenance is what was commonly referred to as alimony. Effective January 1, 2016, Illinois enacted a very structured formula for establishing the dollar amount one spouse may have to pay to the other spouse for maintenance. In order to determine whether maintenance might be suitable in your case and to calculate the exact dollar amount, we will need to see recent tax returns and current pay stubs for both parties. The length of time that maintenance will be paid is based upon the length of the marriage.

  • Is maintenance and child support tax deductible?

    Child support is not taxable income to the recipient nor a deduction for the payor. Maintenance, on the other hand, is taxable to the recipient and a tax deduction for the payor. Naturally, you should always consult with your tax professional in order to avoid any potential problems with the IRS.

  • My spouse already filed for divorce, does that give them any advantage?

    In most situations the answer is no. There are a few minor exceptions, but they will not generally have a significant impact upon your case. Therefore, there is no advantage or disadvantage to being the first to file.

  • Is it necessary that my spouse and I live apart before I can file for divorce?

    No. There is no separation requirement under Illinois law for you to file for divorce. Prior to January 1, 2016, if a party wanted to file for a divorce under the grounds of irreconcilable differences, the parties had to be living separate and apart for a minimum of two years unless they waived that two year requirement in writing. Even in that event, they had to be living separate and apart for a period of 6 months. Effective January 1, 2016, the law was modified to eliminate that separation period altogether. Under the current law, you do not need to be living separate and apart for any period of time in order to file but if you have been living separate and apart for six months or more, that creates a presumption that irreconcilable differences have arisen.

  • What is a paternity case?

    Very simply, a paternity case is when the mother and the father of a child are not married to each other but need to resolve various legal issues about the child. In paternity cases, the rules regarding the child are very similar to those in a divorce case. In a paternity case, however, issues such as maintenance, the division of cars, accounts, debts, etc. are not addressed.

  • If I receive a ticket or am arrested for any reason, do I need a lawyer?

    In most situations, the answer is yes, but there are a few occasions when you may not need an attorney. Many people make the mistake of representing themselves in court when they should have an attorney. They go into court, plead guilty, and happily walk out thinking all they ended up with was a small fine. Unfortunately, several weeks later they receive a letter from the Secretary of State's office indicating that their driving privileges have been suspended.

    At Canning Law Offices we have clients come in for an initial consultation and sometimes were able to tell them what they can do in court to avoid incurring any attorney's fees. In other serious traffic offenses including driving under the influence of alcohol and all criminal cases, you should absolutely have a lawyer represent you. All of our initial consultations are free.

  • If I am arrested, should I tell the police officers my side of the story?

    Absolutely not. You should not make any statements and immediately advise the officer that you wish to remain silent until you talk to your lawyer. Many people make the mistake of thinking they can talk the police into dropping the charges if they tell them their side of the story. All too frequently, this just ends up being a confession and used against you. Again, do not say anything about the incident and insist on your right to remain silent until you talk to a lawyer.

  • This is my first ticket or arrest. Will this help?

    Absolutely. In every case the prosecuting attorney will look to see if you have any type of prior history. The lack of prior tickets or arrests, instead of a lengthy criminal history, will have a great impact. It will help when we try to negotiate a settlement and at your sentencing if you are found guilty after a trial. Therefore, it is very important that you be completely honest with your lawyer when they ask about your past.

  • If I admit to you that I am guilty of the offense or disclose embarrassing information, do you disclose that to the police or a judge?

    Absolutely not. What you tell us in confidence is absolutely privileged and we will not divulge it to anyone.

  • I have a small business and would like to hire you to collect from several that are refusing to pay their bills. How much clients/customers do you charge?

    In today's financial environment, many small businesses run into the problem of non-paying customers. At Canning Law Offices we know a consistent cash flow is the life blood of your business. You need those accounts to be paid so you, in turn, can pay your expenses. We are more than willing to help collect those debts for you. Our fee structure is based upon a percentage of what we recover for you. Therefore, if we recover zero, you owe us zero. The exact percentage will vary depending upon the number of individual cases and the total amount of debt due. Please feel free to contact us and schedule an initial consultation wherein we would be happy to talk about your accounts receivables in detail. Our initial consultation is free.

  • Do I need a will?

    Yes. At a minimum, everybody should have a will and, depending on the size of your estate, possibly a more complex estate plan. Having a will is especially important if you have minor children. At Canning Law Offices, the initial consultations for wills are free. Further, 100% of the fees we generate through the preparation of wills is donated to charity. Visit our Wills for Charity page for further information.