If you have decided to get a divorce in Illinois, there are some decisions you need to make about how you want to get divorced. There are also legal steps you then take depending on the specific divorce process you have decided to pursue. Most people think that you have to go to court to get a divorce. The reality is that very few divorce cases are ever heard by a judge.
Divorce Processes to Choose From
You need to choose the divorce process that works best for you and your spouse.
- Traditional litigation. Each spouse hires their own attorney. The attorneys try to hash out a settlement but if they are unable to, the case goes to trial. The spouses may agree on one or two issues and seek court intervention on only one issue, like child custody. The court will hold a hearing and receive evidence from both parties before making a decision.
This process is generally used by most couples, but most professionals agree that it is a process of last resort.
- Mediation can occur anytime in the divorce process, even if the process begins with traditional litigation. The law requires couples who have unresolved issues regarding their children to go to mediation before seeking court intervention on an issue. Some couples contact a mediator on their own even if they do not have an attorney. The mediator does not tell the spouses what to do but guides their discussion hopefully leading the couple to come to their own agreement.
- Collaborative Divorce. A Collaborative Divorce avoids court involvement. Each spouse has their own attorney who is dedicated to the Collaborative Divorce process. The process is private. Documents are not filed with the court and there are no public court hearings.
The attorneys and the spouses meet to work out a fair settlement. The first meeting is generally dedicated to determining the kind of neutral professionals they need to consult, for example, they may need a financial expert, child specialist, or divorce coach. The attorneys give the spouses names of professionals so they can choose who they want to work with.
Subsequent meetings are scheduled with the appropriate neutral professionals. The goal is to work out the issues that must be decided before a divorce can be final, such as how to co-parent, who is keeping the house, how are assets divided, and so forth.
When all issues are resolved, a written settlement agreement is filed with the court. It becomes the final court order. This step is true with all three of these processes.
The Law Offices of Patrick Markey, P.C. Will Help You Choose the Divorce Process That is Right for You
There are pros and cons to each divorce process and there is no one-size-fits-all way to divorce. If you are considering divorce, and are unsure of what process you want to pursue, contact The Law Offices of Patrick Markey, P.C. for a consultation. We are compassionate and committed to providing you with the personalized attention you deserve.