Divorce is one of the most challenging experiences of a person’s life, and no two divorce cases will play out the same way. It is perfectly normal to experience a strong flurry of emotions once the idea of divorce becomes a reality, and you are compelled to act. An experienced Metro East, IL divorce attorney is the best available resource for anyone in this position. A good attorney can provide detailed insights about specific factors in a given case.

How Does a Divorce Case Start?

Divorce begins informally when a married couple mutually agrees to divorce or when one spouse tells the other they no longer wish to be married. The formal process of divorce in the legal system begins when one spouse files a divorce petition with the local courthouse. In turn, the courthouse records the petition into public record and formally serves divorce papers to the petitioner’s spouse. This is the initial legal phase for a divorce case, and a case may take many different paths once the respondent has received divorce papers from the court.

Will My Divorce Case Go to Trial?

The vast majority of divorces filed in the United States do not end in litigation. Most divorcing couples prefer private settlement through divorce mediation or alternative dispute resolution, saving both of them significant amounts of time and money they would otherwise spend on litigation. Divorce cases only proceed to litigation if divorcing spouses absolutely cannot come to civil terms in divorce negotiations. Litigation may also be necessary in very sensitive and complicated divorce cases, such as those involving domestic violence or high net worth individuals with complex assets.

Can My Future Ex-Spouse Delay Divorce Proceedings?

While it is technically possible for a divorcing spouse to attempt to drag out divorce proceedings unnecessarily, they cannot do so without justification. Obviously, deliberate attempts to delay divorce proceedings may lead to incurring contempt of court. Ultimately, whenever an individual attempts to illegally interfere with their divorce proceedings to hurt the other spouse, doing so eventually backfires in the form of possible legal penalties and their own increased legal fees.

It can be incredibly difficult for some people to imagine having civil negotiations with their spouse as they head into divorce proceedings. Consider that cooperation ultimately benefits both spouses in the long run.

Why Should I Mediate My Divorce?

Once a respondent has received divorce papers from the court, they may either accept their spouse’s proposed divorce terms or reject the terms. It’s important to note that if one spouse serves the other with divorce papers, the recipient cannot simply refuse the divorce and ignore the papers; doing so will result in a summary judgment in the petitioner’s favor, essentially granting them whatever they want out of the divorce. When a respondent agrees to divorce but does not accept the initially proposed terms for divorce, they may explore alternative dispute resolution to avoid the expense and hassle of litigation.

Divorce mediation is the most popular kind of alternative dispute resolution available in the Metro East, IL area. This method provides a comfortable, low-pressure atmosphere in which the divorcing spouses can negotiate the terms of their divorce in a more personalized manner. When divorce is litigated in court, a judge has the final say and may not take the couple’s personal preferences and unique lifestyle factors into account and instead rule in alignment with cold legal statutes. Ultimately, most Metro East divorce lawyers recommend their clients explore collaborative divorce or mediation to settle their divorces as expeditiously as possible.

How Long Will It Take to Settle a Divorce?

Many states in the US uphold mandatory waiting periods after filing for divorce. Typically, this is to provide the court a final chance to review the divorce agreement to ensure its legality and to provide the divorcing spouses one last opportunity to reconcile. Illinois does not uphold any waiting period that a divorcing couple must complete before their divorce is finalized. However, both spouses must meet the state’s 90-day residency requirement before they may file for divorce.

The actual time required to complete the divorce process hinges on the divorcing spouses’ willingness to compromise and negotiate. Divorce mediation may only take a few weeks or months before the divorcing couple completes their negotiations and drafts their divorce agreement. In contrast, divorce litigation can take several months or even several years, depending on the complexity of the case. An experienced Metro East, IL divorce attorney can provide their client with a realistic estimate of the time their case will require.

How Does a Divorce Case Formally End?

Once the court has finalized a divorce agreement, the couple is no longer legally married. Their divorce agreement likely includes terms and conditions by which they must abide. Any failure to uphold the responsibilities listed in the divorce agreement may lead to legal penalties. Additionally, the approval and finalization of a divorce agreement does not necessarily mean the issue is closed; it is still possible for either spouse to revisit the divorce decree in the future under certain conditions. For example, if a spouse must renegotiate their child support obligation after losing their job, they would need to file a post-judgment motion to review their child support agreement.

When Should I Hire an Attorney?

While it may be technically possible to represent your own interests in a divorce case, doing so is unwise and leaves you at a legal disadvantage, especially if your spouse hires their own legal counsel. Hiring an attorney increases the likelihood of securing a mutually agreeable and reasonable divorce agreement. A good Metro East, IL divorce lawyer can ensure their client receives a fair divorce settlement as Illinois law allows and help the client prepare for all their case proceedings.

It is usually best to hire a Metro East divorce attorney as soon as possible, ideally as soon as the idea of divorce becomes reality. It’s natural to feel a strong mix of emotions, and the right attorney can provide the guidance and clarity you need to navigate this difficult situation as efficiently as possible. If you are concerned about the potential timeline for your own divorce, reach out to an experienced Metro East, IL divorce attorney as soon as possible.