Litigation is what takes place when the parties seeking a divorce cannot reach an agreement. The parties have to put on their case and try to tell the judge why their version of events should determine the outcome. Will County divorce litigation is very costly because it is very time-consuming. It is very fact-sensitive. The law is not black and white. Every situation has some gray areas and every person is unique. Nobody wants to be treated as though they are just a piece of paper because, at the end of the day, we are talking about people’s lives and their kids. People want to be heard. People want the judge to understand who they are and why they are asking for what they are asking. That is why if you are in the midst of a divorce, it is important to work with an experienced divorce attorney that understands how divorce litigation works. Call us at Reidy Law and know that you are in capable hands.
Illinois does not allow for jury trials, so divorce litigation in Will County is all done by a judge. Litigation is really about identifying all the issues of the case and figuring out what issues are not contested. A contested divorce does not have to mean every single thing is contested; it might mean an agreement on 80% of the stuff and 20% to be litigated. That is fine. The parties can explain what issues they agree upon and which they do not, and then the judge can make a decision.
There are rules to divorce litigation. One cannot just come into court, get on the witness stand, and start talking about what somebody told them, who told somebody else, who told somebody else and try to say that that is fact. This is classic hearsay and it is not allowed. You have to have people come in that personally observed things or personally have knowledge of the situation so they can tell the judge and, ultimately, the judge will have to make a decision.
Before getting there, the parties will negotiate back and forth. When they get to the point at which negotiations have stalled, they can request a pretrial and, in a pretrial, the attorneys for the parties can speak to the judge in an informal manner and explain their perspective on the issues. The judge can then give some understanding, weigh in on the situation, and make recommendations to the parties. Based upon that, the parties may or may not settle. A pretrial can often be good because it allows the attorneys to get to the heart of the matter without having to be constrained by the rules of evidence and the formalities that go into a trial, because getting out one issue can take multiple hours depending on what one is trying to prove or argue in court whereas in pretrial, they can cut right to the heart of it in a couple of minutes.
What makes Will County unique from the next county are the judges and the attorneys. Again, it is important to know one’s audience. Every county has their own flavor. They have their own rules. For example, Will County has different court forms than Cook County, and it is important to understand why they use what they use versus what other counties use. That is the key difference: every county has their own forms, rules, and ways of doing things that are not necessarily published online or in a book, so it is important to know one’s audience. That is why it is important to work with a local attorney. One of our skilled divorce lawyers can help you navigate the divorce litigation process in Will County.