Negotiation and Litigation in Illinois Family Law Matters
The process of divorce is often a traumatic experience. Although Illinois law offers mediation as an alternative to adversarial litigation, some divorcing spouses find that mediation will not work in their situation. When mediation breaks down, an experienced Illinois family law attorney will be ready to guide his or her client through the litigation process.
What is Mediation?
Illinois law requires that spouses try mediation before going to trial if they have custody-related issues to work out. These issues include which parent the children will live with and when; how much and what kinds of visitation to schedule; and whether one or both parents will have legal custody, or the right to make important decisions on the child's behalf. In addition to using mediation to sort out child custody issues, many divorcing couples choose mediation as a less adversarial way of sorting out other issues, including how to divide marital assets.
How Effective is Mediation?
Unfortunately, not all people going through a divorce are suited to mediation. When a divorce turns ugly, one or both spouses may be unable to agree on certain issues or to control their emotions during mediation. Failing to sort out all of your disputes in mediation, however, does not mean that you have failed. It simply means that mediation is not the best choice at this stage in your divorce.
What Happens if Mediation Fails?
When mediation isn't an option, Illinois law allows divorcing adults to present their case in court. Litigation may cover every issue in a divorce, or it may be restricted to one or two contested issues. Those who choose the litigation process are usually unable to resolve disputes over one or more of the following issues:
- The need for or amount of spousal support and/or child support
- How to divide the marital debt
- How to divide the marital property
- How much the marital property is worth
- How to arrange child custody and child visitation
In litigation, each spouse and his or her attorney appears before a judge in a formal court case. The attorneys present evidence and advocate for the needs of their respective clients. Depending on the number and complexity of the issues involved, divorce litigation in Illinois may last up to several months. Much of this time is spent by your attorney gathering information and discussing your case with you so that your attorney can determine the best way to advocate on your behalf.
Unlike mediation, the final decision in litigation is always in the hands of the judge. Although some court judgments can be modified after they are given, the extra time and cost involved in doing so merely underlines the need for an experienced and passionate advocate on your behalf during the litigation process.
Dedicated Family Law Attorneys
At Nottage and Ward, LLP, we practice family law and family law only, and we treat each of our clients as an individual. Our experience in both mediation and in litigation ensures that we can provide the dedicated support you need during this difficult time. To learn more, please don't hesitate to contact the attorneys at Nottage and Ward, LLP at (312) 332-2915 today.
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Leslie has been the strongest representation I could ask for
Leslie has been the strongest representation I could ask for in a very complicated, emotional matter. She has continuously looked out for my best interest and the best interest of my son. She is always prompt in getting back to me and in keeping me well informed about my case.
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