If you are unable to reach a divorce settlement, your case may go to trial to decide issues such as property division, spousal maintenance as well as child custody and visitation arrangements.
If you and your spouse can agree on some issues, but not all, the divorce trial will usually open with stipulations where the agreed issues are read into the court record and become part of the decree, leaving the contested issues for the court to decide.
The most common reason for a divorce case to go to trial is a couple’s inability to reach an agreement on the division of property. The court will typically begin the process by determining what is separate property, such as property obtained prior to the marriage or inheritance given to one spouse, versus marital property, which might include a family home purchased after the couple married.
When the value of the marital property is determined, a judge will decide how to apportion the assets between the divorcing parties. Illinois is an equitable distribution state, so the property will be divided between the spouses in a fair and equitable manner.
Of course, child custody (Illinois parenting time and responsibility) is often a contentious issue which may progress to trial. Sometimes a judge will appoint a guardian ad litem, whose job it is to determine what is in the best interests of the child or may even order a custody evaluation conducted by a court appointed professional to make a custody recommendation. Parents can weigh-in with their own evidence or witness testimony if they have particular concerns about parenting time or responsibility being awarded to the other parent.
The payment of spousal support may be decided at trial also. A judge can set the amount of alimony to be paid and the duration of payments after looking at various factors such as the length of the marriage, the earning capacity of the requesting spouse and more. Calculations for child support are determined through a statutory formula provided by the state so it is not usually an issue at trial.
Contact an Illinois Divorce Settlement Agreement Lawyer
Many clients hope to avoid litigating a divorce in court because they do not want to go through a sometimes long, drawn out process. Although going to court may be unavoidable in some cases, the right negotiator can make all the difference when it comes to reaching a fair divorce settlement in a timely, cost-effective manner. Libertyville, Illinois Divorce Attorney Ronald L. Bell has more than 30 years of experience negotiating favorable divorce settlements on behalf of his clients and will will make every effort to achieve your goals in the divorce. Contact our office online or call us at 847-495-6000 for immediate assistance.