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Divorces that go through litigation take longer and are often more expensive than divorces that settle out of court. Unfortunately, sometimes there is no other option. Although the term ‘trial’ often has people imagining lawyers battling it out and yelling at each other, that does not actually happen. So, if your divorce must go to trial, what can you expect? Below are the basics of what will happen in any divorce trial in Illinois, so you can know what to expect if that is where yours is headed.
There is a good chance that during the divorce proceedings, one or both spouses may have to go to court. These are usually hearings though, and not an actual trial. A trial is only necessary when the spouses cannot agree on terms such as maintenance or child support.
When the couple cannot agree to all the terms of a divorce and it goes to trial, a judge will make the final decision on those terms. This is one reason why couples often try to avoid litigation but again, that is not always possible.
A divorce trial is very similar to any other civil trial. The biggest difference is that there is not a jury present. A judge alone will hear the case. Each side may call witnesses to offer testimony on certain issues. For example, a witness may be called to testify that a child in the divorce is doing very well in their current school and removing them would be detrimental to that child. This testimony could be used to show that the child should remain with the parent that lives closest to the school.
Each side will also present evidence that they collected prior to the start of the trial. This evidence is obtained during the discovery process, where each side presents their evidence and provides any documents or information the other side asks for. Depositions are also taken during the discovery phase, which can also provide additional evidence.
Prior to the trial and right before making a final decision, the judge may try to get the two parties to reach a settlement. The judge’s goal is to get the two sides to come to an agreement as soon as possible and to ensure that the divorce is fair for each party.
Just like other civil trials, if you are unhappy with the judge’s final decision, you can file an appeal. The appellate court does not consider any new evidence. It will only review the paperwork from the trial, along with a written statement from each side.
Going through litigation is never easy, but a skilled Hinsdale divorce lawyer can help. At the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio, we know how to present evidence and arguments at trial that will help you achieve the best possible outcome. Divorce is hard enough; do not go through it alone. Call us today at 630-920-8855 to schedule your free consultation.