There is a passion and energy I feel when talking to divorce attorney, Tiffany Hughes. Hughes, who is the founder of her Chicago based all-women family law firm, became one of my Divorced Girl Smiling partners about a year ago, and everyone I’ve introduced her to has said the same thing.
This Q & A I did with Hughes explains her dedication and determination in helping those facing divorce.
Here is my Q & A with divorce attorney, Tiffany Hughes:
1. Why did you become a divorce attorney?
Growing up, I witnessed my parent’s failed marriage, physical and verbal abuse, alcoholism, mental illness, and things that no child should ever witness. In my own mind, I felt like I had control because I was the one who could rise above it. I had the control to create my future and I had a way out of all of it.
With my family dynamic, I was more of an adult than either of my parents. I was the voice of reason, I was later on (before College) even the main financial supporter, and I was the one to help make peace when possible, all while remaining strong. So underneath it all, I was truly destined for this. I was destined to help people get past the “muck” of their relationship, to give realistic hope, to help make them strong and to lead them to a new chapter of their lives.
My purpose of pursuing law school was to be a family law attorney. I wanted to help people get through what is one of the toughest periods of their lives. Whether that’s a divorce, protecting themselves and their children from an abusive relationship, or wanting to be involved in their child’s life because the other parent refuses to allow the same.
The goal is to help, to advocate for them, and to resolve any and all conflicts that I can. While in college, I worked with abuse victims. They were truly terrified and in pain. Most of them had children who were unfortunately either a victim of the abuse or a witness to it. The level of pain that I felt for them was debilitating because I couldn’t personally do anything. I was stuck because I wasn’t a lawyer, I was simply a College student.
My passion was ignited by the want, need and desire to help others who truly needed it. If I wanted to be an attorney I knew it was a long road, but I knew that the work would pay off and soon I would be able to make a difference in people’s lives, in children’s lives and in families lives. Well, the road was very tough, but well worth it!
2. Why did you start your own firm versus working for a larger firm?
As I built my practice, which I started preparing for before I even passed the bar exam, I knew from my experiences with big firms the way they operated. I can’t speak for every single big firm out there, but I knew what I witnessed and that for many of these firms, divorce is merely a business.
They weren’t in it for the right reasons. I wanted my services to be about my clients, their families, and their children. I wanted to provide a personalized approach to divorce that many large firms don’t believe in. I wanted to build a Firm that was premised on one-on-one true care, devotion, loyalty and trust when people truly need it most. I didn’t want it to be about billable hours, collectible hours or how many cases you had.
3. What sets you apart from other divorce attorneys?
I truly dedicate myself to each and every case that I have. Dedication is probably an understatement to be honest. My dedication runs deep and is seen and truly appreciated beyond words. It means that when there is an emergency, a call at 9pm, working on weekends or nights or whatever is needed, I am the person that they can always count on. My work hours are not 9-5 because my client’s lives are not 9-5. Other Attorneys claim to be there, but the proof is in the pudding when you really need them and they aren’t there. Well, that isn’t me.
I pick and choose the clients that I work with to ensure that they are always my top priority, instead of taking every case and not being able to attend to your clients or provide them with the personalized service that they deserve. I inform my clients of their actual reasonable and ascertainable results, instead of making false promises or lying to them.
I’ve been told by clients that I’m “blunt” and that I’m a “shark in stilettos” and I guess I can’t disagree. I never lie to my clients, and I tell them things that at times they may not like to hear but they need to hear. With all of my clients, we have a strong, meaningful relationship that is based on trust. My relationship with my clients last even well after their case is final because I truly care. I’m not like any other Attorneys in Family Law you may have met.
4. What 3 pieces of advice do you have for someone considering getting divorced?
1. Educate yourself. Be aware of the process and have the knowledge you need going into it.
2. Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. You are about to embark on a roller coaster of sorts. However, if you know when the turns are coming and where the drops are, you can prepare yourself.
3. Don’t be afraid. Divorce can be hard but don’t be afraid. Remember, life is no rehearsal. You need to be strong and remember what your ultimate goals are and never lose sight of them, no matter how scared you get.
5. What advice do you have for someone whose ex has a “shark” attorney and is angry and wants a good fight?
Don’t stoop to their level and be sure to have an attorney representing you that you can trust and can rely on who is really looking out for your best interests. Most of those “shark” attorneys are solely looking to rack up attorneys fees, and rile up their clients to achieve the attorneys own sole goal of increasing the costs of litigation.
Working with an attorney who truly has your best interests at heart makes a world of a difference. Do your research on family law Attorneys, know what your deal breakers are for settlement and don’t let the litigation or scare tactics consume you.
6. What are your thoughts on mediation?
I truly believe in mediation. I’m a trained mediator myself so I’m biased when it comes to mediation. I incorporate my mediation skills every single day in every single one of my cases. However, mediation for a divorce is not always possible for families. You have to be a good fit for mediation for it to work. When mediation is not possible, I use my mediation training and skills to help families work towards settlement and avoid litigation.
7. When the divorce is final, what do you see happen to your client?
Sometimes I see them looking for direction and not knowing what to do. Other times, I see them embarking on a new chapter of their life with a sense of direction and peace. Either way, I help them. I help them see the bigger picture in all respects of their lives and help them to leave the past in the past and see the many great things that are to come.
8. What keeps you motivated?
The results that I achieve for clients, and the long lasting relationships that I have made while representing them throughout the process. It’s also the fact that I was truly there for them, to give them that fresh start, that sense of life back, all while being their confidant in the process. It feels good to do good, and it feels good to do good for the right reasons because my heart, my devotion, and zealous representation is all in the right place.
During the past year, I have referred many clients to divorce attorney, Tiffany Hughes, and I have gotten so much positive feedback. It’s not surprising! To learn more about divorce attorney, Tiffany Hughes, visit her website.
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