If you have ever watched a television show or movie depicting divorce, you may have seen dramatic courtroom scenes depicting divorce lawyers arguing facts in front of a judge. However, the vast majority of divorce cases are settled outside of court. If you are planning to divorce, you may be unsure of what to expect. Educating yourself about the divorce process and speaking with a skilled divorce attorney are two important ways to ensure that you are as prepared for your impending divorce as possible.
Issues that Must Be Addressed in an Illinois Divorce
Undoing the legal marital relationship is often more complicated than people realize. Before the divorce is finalized, the couple must reach an agreement about the terms of their divorce. They will need to determine how to divide marital property and debt, what to do with the marital home, and figure out the ownership of vehicles, furniture, and other personal property. If the couple has children, they will need to fill out and submit a “parenting plan” describing the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. In addition, Spousal maintenance (alimony) is another issue that may need to be decided on. If the couple can reach an agreement about the terms of their divorce, they may design their own divorce settlement and present it to the court for approval. Once the court approves the settlement, it is formalized into a legally binding court order.
When a Divorcing Couple Cannot Reach an Agreement
Divorcing couples who are unable to agree on property division, child custody, spousal maintenance, and other divorce issues have several options. Many couples are able to negotiate a settlement with help from their attorneys. Others attend family law mediation and discuss the unresolved divorce issues with guidance from a certified divorce mediator. However, there are some cases in which litigation cannot be avoided. Your divorce case may go to trial if you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement about one or more divorce issues. Litigation may also be necessary if one of the spouses refuses to be honest and forthcoming about his or her income, assets, business revenue, or other financial matters. Issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse, and child abuse may also prevent the spouses from being able to reach a resolution outside of court....