The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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How Often Do Divorces Go to Trial in Illinois? 

 Posted on October 27, 2021 in Chicago divorce attorney

aurora divorce lawyerAlthough divorce trials make for great courtroom dramas, the truth is that very few divorces in Illinois go to trial. This is due to a concerted effort on the part of Illinois courts and judges who recognize that spouses and especially children are not benefited by the time, conflict, and expense involved in trial litigation. Many couples are ordered to exhaust other options, including pursuing mediation or collaborative divorce, for resolving their differences before a divorce case can move forward to a trial. 

However, it is not always possible for couples to agree. Furthermore, issues such as domestic violence can make conflict-resolution strategies impractical or even dangerous. In cases such as these, the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, property division, and spousal maintenance may be resolved by a judge. 

What Happens During Divorce Litigation? 

One of the first steps in a divorce case is a process known as “discovery.” Discovery is a period during which attorneys gather and request facts and evidence, including documents and depositions, from both spouses in preparation for the trial. Depending on the complexity of a divorce, discovery can be the longest part of the divorce case. Attorneys must share materials obtained during discovery with each other so each spouse can make a strong case. 

Once the discovery period has ended, attorneys meet with a judge for a pre-trial conference wherein both attorneys will make a settlement position backed up by the law. Each attorney will argue on behalf of their client to get their perspective heard and their needs met. Judges usually respond with a settlement proposal, giving attorneys an idea of how they are likely to rule if the facts in the trial turn out to be the same as the facts presented during the pre-trial conference. 

If this is unsuccessful, an opening trial date will be scheduled. Judges will often continue to encourage a settlement immediately before the trial begins. During the trial, each spouse’s attorney will present evidence and make arguments on behalf of their client’s position. There can be expert witnesses, such as social workers or psychologists, and witness statements from neighbors, teachers, or religious clergy who have relevant testimony to share. 

Once the arguments have been made, witnesses have been cross-examined, and closing statements have been shared, a judge will make a decision and issue a ruling, finalizing the divorce. 

Speak with an Aurora, IL Divorce Lawyer

At the The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we are committed to helping you avoid the difficulty and expense of a divorce trial whenever it is practical and possible to do so. Mr. Williams is an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney who will help you resolve the issues in your divorce using conflict resolution strategies so you can reduce your stress and focus on moving forward with your life. Contact our office today to schedule a confidential consultation. Give us a call at 630-409-8184.  




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The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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