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What Is Involved in an Illinois Divorce Trial?

Posted on in Divorce

Cook County divorce attorney

When a couple decides to divorce, issues such as the division of marital assets and debts and the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time must be resolved. Some couples are able to reach a settlement agreement about the terms of their divorce through negotiations or alternative resolution methods such as mediation and collaborative divorce. Others, however, cannot reach a solution that both spouses agree to. If a divorcing couple cannot reach an agreement about one or more of the relevant divorce issues, the case may go to trial.

The Fact Gathering Phase

The “discovery” phase occurs prior to the divorce trial. During discovery, each party and his or her respective attorney will gather information about the unresolved divorce issues. Several methods may be used to gather financial data and other relevant information, including:

  • Request for Production: You or your spouse may be asked to provide documents such as W-2s, bank statements, retirement accounts, and other documentation.

  • Interrogatories: An interrogatory is an open-ended question that is answered in writing.

  • Request for Admissions: Parties may be asked to “admit” or “deny” certain facts under oath.

  • Depositions: The parties and their lawyers may participate in recorded discussions while under oath.

  • Subpoena Duces Tecum: Subpoenas are used to request information from relevant third parties such as a bank or mortgage company.

You will also attend a pre-trial conference or settlement conference during which each party presents the facts of the case to the judge. Judges often give settlement suggestions based on the ruling that they will likely make based on the known information. If you and your spouse can agree on a settlement, you can avoid the rest of the litigation process.

Presenting Arguments and Evidence During the Trial

Divorce trials are similar to other types of civil trials except that there is no jury. Instead, the case is decided by a single judge. Each side will make opening statements and present evidence to support their positions. The spouses will be called to the stand to testify. They will likely be “examined” or questioned by both their own attorney as well as the attorney representing the other spouse. Other witnesses, including professionals such as a child custody expert or forensic accountant, may also provide input. The judge considers the evidence and arguments presented by both sides and then makes a final ruling about the unresolved divorce issues.

Contact a Cook County Divorce Lawyer

Going through a divorce can be an overwhelming experience, and you may not know where to start. For help with property division, child custody, spousal maintenance, and other divorce concerns, contact an experienced Oak Brook divorce attorney at Botti Marinaccio, LTD. If we cannot help you reach a settlement agreement, we are fully prepared to represent you during divorce litigation. Call our office today at 630-575-8585 to schedule a confidential consultation.



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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.


2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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