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What Happens During Divorce Litigation in Illinois?

Posted on in Divorce

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.

Will I Have to Go to Trial?

The terms “divorce litigation” and “divorce trial” are sometimes used interchangeably, but these are two very different situations. When a case is in litigation, it means that the spouses are no longer willing or able to resolve the disputes on their own. However, it does not automatically mean that the case will go to trial.  In the majority of cases, spouses are able to negotiate a settlement through their attorneys before the case proceeds to trial. The evidence gathered during discovery is often used as a means of furthering these negotiations. However, some cases are not settled before the trial. If this is the case, the parties will go before a judge to resolve their outstanding issues. The attorneys will present evidence gathered during discovery and make arguments on behalf of their respective clients. They may also examine and cross-examine witnesses. The judge will consider the arguments, evidence, and witness testimony and issue a ruling regarding the unresolved divorce issues.

Contact a Naperville Divorce Lawyer

If you and your spouse disagree about one or more issues in your divorce, you have several options. You may be able to reach an agreement through mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution called collaborative divorce. You may also be able to reach an agreement through lawyer-led negotiations. To learn more about your options and get the legal representation you need, contact a DuPage County divorce litigation attorney from Pesce Law Group, P.C. Call 630-352-2240 for a free consultation.


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