What are the Four Stages of a Divorce Case?
1. The pleading stage.
This is when both parties file papers that set out their positions and their version of the issues.
2. The discovery stage.
This is when you can compel your spouse to disclose everything you need to know regarding grounds, parenting issues, support issues, asset identification, asset values, and any other matters that will help you determined your rights and/or obligations.You get to question your soon-to-be ex under oath about the financial matters that they know about and you don’t, and compel him or her (or their financial institutions, business partners, employers, etc.) to produce documents or other indicia to establish if they are telling the truth.
3. The negotiation stage.
This takes place after the discovery is complete and you know what the facts, assets, and numbers are. It is at this time that you have enough information to assess your entitlement and your ability to prove it.
You present your position to the other side and try to reach a mutually acceptable resolution – a marital settlement agreement – concerning the terms of your divorce. If you are successful, this agreement will spelled out in your final divorce papers.
4. The trial stage.
If you and your spouse are unable to reach a settlement that is acceptable, the two of you must submit your issues to the court for final determination. This is where the court conducts a trial and issues a final judgment resolving everything in dispute.
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Richard and Kari are staunch advocates of the non-court approach to divorce, and are also active and seasoned litigators with over 60 years of combined trial experience in the Illinois divorce courts of Cook, DuPage, and Will counties.