The traditional divorces are those cases that use the courts during their divorce. I am a highly skilled negotiator and work towards reaching an optimized out of court settlement for my clients. However, when necessary, I am ready to go to trial for my clients and am known for my preparation, investigation, analysis and confidence in the courtroom. My experience, civility, negotiating and trial skills help my clients and their families achieve favorable settlements. My reputation for being a strong trial attorney helps in the negotiation process as opposing divorce attorneys are aware that I will go to trial, if necessary.
What is Traditional Divorce?
Traditional Divorce is the most common type of divorce process in Illinois. In many cases, the decision to divorce is one-sided, one spouse wants the divorce and the other does not. That, by its very nature, creates an emotionally charged situation right from the start and often disqualifies other processes such as mediation and collaborative divorce.
The primary forum for a traditional divorce case is the courthouse. Many couples are surprised to find that a traditional divorce case is much like any other lawsuit where one person sues another, relying upon the court system and the litigation process for a legal resolution. Like most other civil cases, divorce proceedings are marked by three stages: commencement, discovery, and settlement/trial. It is important to know that the vast majority of traditional divorce cases reach an out-of-court settlement before trial. Therefore, successful divorce lawyers must be both skilled negotiators and trial attorneys.
How Does a Divorce Case Begin?
Divorce, legally known as “dissolution of marriage,” is a real court proceeding. It is commenced, or begins, when one spouse (the “petitioner”) files a “petition” or “complaint” requesting the court to end a marriage and decide all of the issues that must be resolved when two people divorce. During the commencement period, both spouses typically hire a divorce attorney to assist in advancing and protecting their legal rights.
What is The Next Step?
Once a response or answer is filed, a discovery phase of litigation begins. This phase is where each spouse produces certain documents and answers questions under oath via interrogatories and depositions. Further, depending on the specific facts of a divorce, witnesses are often identified and experts are hired. Experts common to divorce cases include allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody), experts, real estate appraisers, accountants, business valuation consultants, health care professionals and pension consultants. The discovery phase can take months or even years to complete. The level of involvement of the court during this phase is dependent upon whether or not the spouses voluntarily exchange the necessary information and documents.
What is the Ultimate Outcome with a Traditional Divorce?
Spouses can settle their cases at any stage of a traditional case, even after the trial begins. The lawyers and the judge will try to help the spouses reach an amicable settlement. If, after discovery, the spouses cannot agree on settlement, the case will be set for trial. Here, the spouses and their respective divorce attorneys, witnesses, and experts, present their side of the case to a judge. The judge ultimately decides which party prevails on each issue including how marital assets and debts will be divided, maintenance, child support, and parental responsibilities (child custody). Generally, it is not winner take all. Rather, one spouse may win on some issues and the other spouse may prevail on others. Once a final resolution is achieved, whether by agreement or trial, the terms of the divorce will be put into written form and the judge will sign a divorce decree known in Illinois as a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage.
My experience handling traditional divorce cases for more than twenty five years, gives my clients an advantage. My financial background as a CPA and tax lawyer allows me to help my clients reach optimal, fair and comprehensive outcomes. I am a strong advocate for my clients and am at their side every step of the way during this highly stressful time.