Family & Juvenile Law Section “Top 10’s”

Top 10 Things to Do If You Represent the Party Seeking Alimony
By: Vincent M. Wills
Dragga, Hannon, Hessler & Wills, LLP

  1. Counsel your client to seek employment, if he or she can work.
  2. If your client cannot work due to a physical or mental disability, contact your client’s physicians to obtain a written report and obtain copies of the medical records. If necessary, hire a mental health expert in order to try to preserve the privilege.
  3. Hire a vocational rehabilitation expert, if necessary.
  4. Draft a financial statement that includes all of your client’s monthly and projected monthly expenses. If there are children, carefully apportion the expenses and be prepared to explain the apportionment. If your client has not maintained the family expenses, consider hiring an expert to draft your client’s financial statement. You may also need to hire a financial planner to counsel your client regarding the ability to meet his or her expenses at various income levels. Be sure to gather and tell your client to save documents that support the monthly expenses.
  5. Gather evidence of standard of living.
  6. Gather and put on proof of all Section 11-106 factors.
  7. Put on separate evidence regarding unconscionable disparity in standard of living.
  8. Contact third party witnesses to testify to the non-monetary and monetary (if applicable) contributions of your client.
  9. Hire an expert to testify regarding the tax effect of alimony and to rebut expert testimony regarding the amount of income that could be obtained from any monetary award or other assets.
  10. Prepare AAML and Kaufman guidelines for use by the court and argument.