A status hearing is an opportunity for the parties in a divorce case to inform and update the court about the progress made on previously-identified issues and to determine the best next steps. The court will address issues during the hearing based on the past matters and suggestions raised by the court, the progress so far and listen to any new issue arising. The status hearing may cover for example issues related to a parenting plan, child custody/parental rights, or child support for a minor child.
The attorneys are expected to discuss the issues and attempt to find solutions and the next steps for the case before appearing before the judge. They should then appear before the judge and report the latest developments and proposed plan.
The judge has the opportunity to make suggestions to the parties and attorneys on the next steps. He or she may provide or recommend to the parties specific issues they should pay attention to and solve before the next meeting. The judge can also propose alternative dispute resolution for the parties. The judge can schedule a trial if the parties and their attorneys cannot reach an agreement. The judge hears and examines the evidence before deciding on outstanding issues in this final event.
Importance of Status Hearing
Status hearing presents an opportunity for you to argue your case to the judge and raise issues of concern to you. The judge can go through and re-evaluate various stages of the process. You can hire an attorney to argue your position effectively during the hearing and ensure that all your interests are considered in the whole process.
Status hearing updates you on new developments and issues previously discussed with the other party. It is an opportunity to persuade the judge before the final major decisions are made.
Should I Go?
Though clients don’t need to be present during the status hearing, it is significant that you attend and understand the progress of your case. This hearing lets the court know what the attorneys are doing and if they need any help to make the process faster.
If you have a very busy schedule, the attorney can represent you during these hearings unless the court demand otherwise. For parties representing themselves, pro se, they must attend every court date on their case. The mandatory instances where parties represented by an attorney must appear before the court include:
- Direct Order from the Court demanding you make an appearance
The case will proceed to trial for a contested divorce with many unresolved disputes. On the last date of the status hearing, the court will set the pre-trial date for handling logistical matters of the case. During the pre-trial conference, the court will decide the number of witnesses lawyers will call, the total exhibits they will present and the length of the opening and closing arguments.
Motion and Petition Practice
During the pre-trial period, spouses can file motions and petitions to resolve issues or compel the other spouse to do or provide particular information. Some of the pre-trial motions and petitions are:
Motions to Compel: If you, through your attorney, requested some information from your spouse and they have refused, the lawyer can use the motion to compel the provision of such information.
Petition for Temporary Support: Spouses can petition for support during the divorce proceedings. One of the spouses may be financially constrained during the long proceedings because the other is no longer contributing to the household.
Petition to Modify Support: New circumstances can affect the previously entered support and make it inappropriate. The petition to modify support can reduce, increase or remove the support amount.
If the parties cannot agree on a pre-trial, the trial is the next step in your family law case. The parties will present all facts, exhibits, and witnesses, and the judge will make the final decision. The main topics during the trial period are financial and custody. Suppose any party feels that the court erred in its decision. In that case, they have the right to appeal the decision to the Illinois Appellate Court within thirty days from the date the Judgement for Dissolution of Marriage is entered.
How our Legal Team Can Supports Clients During a Status Hearing
At Petrelli Previtera, our goal is to help clients understand the legal process and their choices in order for them to make informed and practical decisions about their family law case. Feel free to contact us for any questions about status hearings and family law matters, or for more information and help with your divorce process, call us at (312) 252-2085.