Feelings of anxiety and stress are common for any couple which is moving forward with the dissolution of their marriage. A divorce can be a complex matter which can have a lasting effect on everyone involved. Going into a divorce, most people are unfamiliar with the steps involved, the legal requirements that must be met, and the length of time needed. Dissolving a marriage is never fun, and you may want to get your divorce over with as quickly as possible. However, there are certain factors that can cause the divorce process to go on longer, and so working with a knowledgeable divorce attorney is essential to ensure the process can conclude in a timely matter.
Is Your Divorce Contested or Uncontested?
While there is likely to be some level of disagreement between almost all divorcing spouses, determining what areas may cause the most contentious disputes can help take some of the surprises out of the process. Compromise is crucial during divorce, and if you and your ex-spouse are able to work together to reach a divorce settlement, this can save a great deal of time and money. If you can make the decision to “pick your battles,” you may be able to avoid long, drawn-out disputes. However, there may be some issues that you will be unable to resolve between the two of you, and so regarding those issues, it may be necessary to have the court make those decisions for you.
Reasons Why a Divorce Would Be Contested
There are a variety of issues that may be contested during the divorce process. Each spouse will likely have prior expectations about how certain matters will be decided, and when the two spouses are not on the same page in this regard, disputes are likely to arise. Some of the most common reasons for a contested divorce include:
- Child custody issues;
- Child support issues;
- Spousal maintenance/alimony issues;
- Division of marital property issues; and,
- A belief that your spouse has attempted to hide assets or income.
The Court System Can Further Extend Your Divorce
If your divorce involves a number of complex issues, the rules set by the court system could prolong the process. Once one spouse files a petition for divorce, the other spouse will have 30 days to file a response document. After a response is filed, the case will proceed to the discovery stage, in which you and your spouse will share financial information with each other, including details about the income you earn, the assets you own, the debts you owe, and your expected living expenses. Following discovery, you may be able to work together to negotiate a settlement that addresses all the required legal issues. The negotiation process can take some time, since you and your spouse, along with your respective attorneys, will need to obtain, send and review a variety of documents to each other as you work to reach an agreement.
In some cases, the judge may order the parties to use mediation to resolve whatever disputes they have, or the parties themselves may voluntarily choose to work together with a mediator. This may help reduce the time needed to complete the divorce, since the two of you will be sitting down together in the same room and hopefully committing to reaching a settlement. However, if all of the required issues cannot be resolved, the case will have to go to trial, and with a trial, the judge will make the final decisions about how the remaining issues will be handled.
The court system can be very busy, and as you work through the divorce process, you may need to attend multiple court sessions to provide the judge with updates on the case or ask for certain matters to be addressed while the divorce is ongoing. These hearings can prolong the divorce process significantly. If the case does go to trial, and a divorce judgment is entered, afterwards either party can then file an appeal arguing against the judgment. An appeal must be filed within 30 days, and the appeals process will likely take multiple months to complete.
Contact a Hillside, IL Divorce Attorney
Managing the practical concerns and emotional stress of an ongoing divorce can be a demanding process. Depending on the complexity of the issues to be resolved and the level of disagreement between you and your ex-spouse, the divorce process could be long and difficult. At the Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C., our knowledgeable Oak Park divorce lawyer can help you understand the best ways to reach a positive resolution of your divorce as quickly and efficiently as possible, while ensuring that your rights are protected. Call our office today at 708-449-7404 for a free initial consultation.