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Wheaton, IL divorce litigation attorneyTV shows and movies often depict divorces as dramatic confrontations inside the courtroom. However, the vast majority of divorce cases do not go to trial. Litigation is only necessary when a divorcing couple is unable to reach agreements on issues such as property division, the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, and spousal maintenance. Most divorcing couples are able to resolve these issues through lawyer-facilitated negotiations, mediation, or collaborative law. If a couple cannot reach a settlement, the case may go to trial. 

What Should I Expect During a Divorce Trial?

Divorcing spouses may need to make one or more court appearances during the dissolution of their marriage, even if the couple agrees about divorce issues. However, these court appearances are not the same thing as a divorce trial. During a divorce trial, a judge hears arguments from both sides and then issues a ruling regarding the unresolved issues. Divorce trials do not involve a jury, but they are otherwise conducted similarly to other types of civil trials. 

Before the start of the trial, each spouse and his or her attorney will gather information and evidence that support their arguments. This information-gathering process is called “discovery.” Discovery may involve written interrogatories, requests for admission, depositions, and other means of obtaining information about the facts of the case.

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Wheaton divorce litigation attorneyJust as no two marriages are the same, no two divorces are the same. There are several different paths that a person getting divorced in Illinois may choose to pursue. Some couples are able to work out the terms of their divorce on their own. Others require help from a qualified mediator to come to an agreement about property division, child custody, and other divorce-related issues. Collaborative law offers yet another option for couples ending their marriage. In some situations, especially those involving spouses with a high net worth, a divorce case may require courtroom litigation. Here are some situations in which a divorce may need to be resolved in court:

Cases Involving Financial Fraud

In order for a divorcing couple to reach a fair settlement, the spouses must fully disclose their incomes, assets, and debts. If a spouse is unwilling to be honest and transparent about his or her financial circumstances, effective mediation or a successful collaborative divorce may not be possible. Some spouses will attempt to hide assets or income in hopes that these assets will not be divided during divorce. A person may misreport the income they earn in hopes of influencing decisions about spousal maintenance or child support. If you have reason to believe that your spouse is hiding assets or revenue streams, speak with a divorce attorney right away.

Couples With a History of Abuse or Domestic Violence

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men have been the victim of intimate partner violence. If your spouse has physically abused you, used threats to manipulate your actions, or made you feel unsafe, mediation is typically not recommended. You may be coerced or intimidated into accepting a divorce settlement that is not fair. Many victims of domestic violence find that litigation is the only way to get the divorce settlement they truly deserve.

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Lombard divorce litigation attorneyEvery year, thousands of Americans choose to file for divorce. In many cases, the couples elect to separate amicably, and they may believe that their divorce will be a seamless transition into independent life. Some people are so confident in the mutual nature of the separation that they elect to represent themselves throughout the divorce process. This process is known as pro se divorce litigation. 

People may decide to navigate the divorce process without the guidance of a legal professional for a number of different reasons. The couple may believe they can separate peacefully, there may be no children or substantial assets involved, or a person may not believe they can afford an attorney. Regardless of the rationale behind the decision to pursue pro se divorce litigation, the consequences of self-representation can be crippling to your future. If you are seeking a divorce, your best option is to speak with a qualified attorney as soon as possible.

The Benefits of a Legal Professional 

Although many couples believe that they can complete their divorce in a peaceful and mutually beneficial manner, in all reality, almost every single divorce process comes with unforeseen complications and obstacles. Listed below are just a few of the reasons why hiring a divorce attorney can save you from difficulties down the road:

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While every divorce is unique, most can be placed into one of four categories. Each has its own set of potential advantages and disadvantages. Understanding them, and what they might mean for your future, can be crucial to the outcome of your case. Learn more about the four types of divorce, and how you can determine which one may be most appropriate for your situation, with help from the following information.

Litigated Divorce

Litigated divorces, which are otherwise known as "traditional" divorce, is the most common form. Typically, each party works through an attorney to negotiate possible settlements agreements. If they can reach one, it is presented to the judge. If they cannot, then the judge is left to determine the outcome of the case. Various factors are used in his or her decision. For example, cases involving children will consider the best interests of the child. Assets and debts are divided by considering aspects related to income, ability to earn income, age, health, etc.

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Mediation and other Alternative Dispute Resolutions (ADRs) have made divorce more affordable and less stressful for many families, which is probably why so many couples use them. However, there is an underlying issue with divorce mediation, and it is one that few rarely consider: though mediation can and does work for some divorces, it is not be the right option for everyone. The following information can help you decide whether you should mediate your divorce, or if litigation is the right path for you.

Mediation versus Litigation

Mediation can reduce the level of contention during a divorce, which can have some serious benefits for those with children. Parents, who are encouraged to compromise and consider the best interests of their child above all else, are less apt to fight about custody. That can make for less stressed parents and an easier adjustment for children. Mediation is also often a faster, less expensive method to divorce, which is helpful for those who have a simplified divorce, similar net values, or are willing to split assets fairly because each party still genuinely still cares about the other.

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