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Oak Brook divorce attorney for litigation and trialsWhen a couple decides to divorce, they do not simply agree to end their marriage and walk away. They must address various legal issues, including asset and debt division, child custody, spousal support, and child support. These issues often become contentious. If spouses disagree on the terms of the divorce and cannot reach an agreement via alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation, the case may go to litigation. If you are planning to divorce, and you suspect that disagreements will arise, it is important to know what is involved in divorce litigation.

Resolving Divorce Issues Through the Court

Divorce dissolves a legal partnership, so every divorce involves a certain amount of court involvement. If a couple can reach an agreement on how to divide their property, assign parental responsibilities and parenting time, and resolve other divorce-related issues, the court involvement may be minimal. The couple must submit their agreements to the court and, unless there are major issues or the agreements are unconscionable, the court will approve the agreements. These agreements then become legally binding.

If the couple cannot reach an agreement about one or more issues, they will need to turn to various legal processes to reach a resolution. At this point, the case is said to be in litigation. The attorneys will gather evidence to use to support the spouses’ claims through a formal fact-finding process called discovery. This often involves “interrogatories” or formal written questions that a spouse is required by law to answer honestly.  Requests for production are another discovery tool that may be used to obtain financial documents such as tax returns or retirement account statements. Discovery may also involve “depositions,” which are formal interviews that take place under oath.

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Oak Brook divorce attorney for alternative dispute resolutionGoing through a divorce is likely to be one of the most difficult things you ever do. Fortunately, divorce is also an opportunity to start anew and build a better future. There are several things that you can do now to make the divorce process go more smoothly. If you are planning for divorce, these actions will not ensure a pain-free divorce; however, they may help you avoid mistakes that can make the divorce process more difficult than it needs to be.

Tips for Planning for Divorce

If you are planning to end your marriage, but you have not yet filed for divorce, there are many things you can do now to help prevent unnecessary stress and complications. Hiring an attorney who is experienced in handling the divorce issues you will likely encounter is one of the best first steps that you can take. Additionally, it may be a good idea to:

  • Take stock of your financial situation. Gather financial documents such as tax returns, bank statements, retirement account statements, and loan documents. Assess the assets and liabilities you and your spouse currently own.

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Oak Brook divorce settlement attorneyIf you are like many people thinking about divorce, you probably have little to no experience dealing with the Illinois court system. However, it is important to remember that marriage is a legal union, and undoing that union can be a considerable legal undertaking. Do-it-yourself divorce may initially seem like a good idea. You may be worried about attorneys’ fees, or you may assume that hiring a lawyer will automatically make your situation more contentious. However, many people who decide to take on their divorce without legal assistance soon realize that DIY divorce often causes more problems than it solves. One-size-fits-all solutions are often extremely shortsighted, and they can lead to avoidable financial losses and needless stress.

Divorce Cases Change and Evolve Over Time

Many divorcing spouses still care about their soon-to-be ex and wish to minimize contention as much as possible during the divorce. They may assume that they do not need a lawyer to represent them during the divorce because they are still on good terms with their spouse. Unfortunately, as many divorced people can tell you, the process of ending a marriage can bring out the worst in some people. You are not guaranteed a problem-free divorce simply because the split began amicably. 

By hiring a divorce lawyer, you ensure that you have an advocate on your side should circumstances change. Your lawyer will protect your rights and guide you through the divorce process from beginning to end. If you are worried that hiring an attorney will create unnecessary tension between you and your spouse, it is important to hire an attorney who takes a cooperative approach to divorce cases rather than an aggressive approach. During a “collaborative divorce,” divorcing spouses and their attorneys work together instead of against each other in pursuit of a mutually-agreeable settlement.

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