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What is Involved in a Contested Divorce?

 Posted on August 15, 2019 in Divorce

contested. Arlington Heights divorce lawyerIllinois divorces fall into two main categories: contested divorce and uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce occurs when a divorcing couple is able to reach an agreement about property division, the allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, spousal maintenance, and other divorce issues. When negotiations and mediation fail and a divorcing couple cannot come to an agreement about these issues, the court will need to intervene. A contested divorce involves the court listening to arguments from each party and making decisions about the unresolved issues based on Illinois divorce law. It is highly recommended that any individual entering into a contested divorce hire a competent family law attorney with experience handling high-conflict divorce cases.

Contested Divorce in Illinois

Ideally, couples will be able to come to an agreement about divorce-related concerns, either on their own or with help from a mediator. An uncontested divorce is almost always less expensive and time consuming than a contested divorce is. However, there are some situations in which an uncontested divorce is simply not a possibility.

If your spouse is unwilling to cooperate or compromise about divorce issues, you may be forced to undergo a contested divorce. For example, if you believe that you are entitled to spousal maintenance, also called alimony or spousal support, but your spouse refuses to pay, your divorce will likely be contested. A contested divorce can also become necessary when parents have major disagreements regarding child custody or child support, or if domestic violence is an issue.

What to Expect During an Illinois Contested Divorce

If you are getting divorced and you know you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement about divorce issues, you probably have many questions and concerns regarding contested divorces. Typically, a contested divorce in Illinois involves the following steps:

  • The spouse seeking divorce, called the petitioner, files for dissolution of marriage;
  • The other spouse, called the respondent, responds to the petition;
  • Spouses hire divorce attorneys;
  • Information about unresolved divorce issues is gathered during the “discovery” process;
  • Pre-trial motions and hearings;
  • Negotiations;
  • Settlement proposals;
  • If necessary, a court trial which results in a decree issued by the court; and
  • Any appeals to the divorce decree.

The court will analyze the couple’s situation and eventually issue a final order which contains instructions about how the unresolved issues will be handled. Following the issuance of the order, each spouse has the opportunity to appeal the court’s decision. Appeals, however, must be based on an alleged misapplication of the law or an error in the proceedings. A spouse cannot appeal simply because he or she does not like the outcome.

Contact an Illinois Divorce Lawyer

Facing a contested divorce can be daunting to say the least. If you have reason to believe that your divorce will be contested, you need an experienced Rolling Meadows family law attorney by your side. Call the Cosley Law Office at 847-253-3100 to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case.



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