While litigated Illinois divorce used to be common, couples are now encouraged by divorce courts to use resources like mediation and collaborative divorce to resolve issues peaceably. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, and some couples still find themselves litigating their divorces in court even when they do not want to. In this blog, we will discuss some potential signs that you may end up litigating your divorce in a trial, as well as what the divorce trial experience looks like. Be sure to consult with an experienced divorce attorney to get customized advice for your situation.
When Does a Divorce Go to Trial?
Certain circumstances make it difficult or impossible to achieve a resolution through mediation or other cooperative methods. These situations include, but are not limited to:
- A spouse who contests the divorce and will not negotiate or settle
- Spouses whose communication is so contentious that compromise is impossible
- Hostile disputes over child custody, especially when abuse is alleged
- Domestic violence towards either the spouse or the children
- One or both spouses hiding assets, engaging in dissipation of marital assets or refusing to be forthcoming about finances
Sometimes a divorce that seems to be headed for a long, protracted trial can be headed off by presenting information to a judge in a pre-trial conference and asking the judge to estimate what their decision is likely to be. This may convince a spouse not to continue litigating indefinitely when they are not likely to accomplish their goals.
How Do Divorce Trials Work?
While every divorce is different, divorce trials typically go through several stages before reaching a resolution. These include:
- Discovery - Both sides start the divorce process by requesting information from each other, including financial documents, depositions, evidence relating to the children, etc.
- Pretrial meeting - As mentioned earlier, both parties’ attorneys can request a pretrial meeting and present their discovery materials. Judges can then try to convince spouses to settle.
- Trial - Both spouses’ attorneys will give evidence, make arguments, cross-examine witnesses, and try to convince the judge of their client’s perspective.
- Judgment - Following the precepts of Illinois law based on the evidence at hand, a judge will make a decision about as many areas of the divorce as the spouses could not agree on. Some couples can agree on every issue except child custody; other couples have to rely on the court to manage every dispute.
Talk to a Wheaton, IL Divorce Lawyer
If you anticipate a contentious divorce case that may go to trial, the experienced Wheaton, IL divorce attorneys with Andrew Cores Family Law Group can help. We are practiced in every area of divorce and can help you create a strategy designed to minimize conflict and maximize effectiveness. Call us now at 630-871-1002 to schedule your complimentary consultation today.