Judge on the bench

This is the next post in my series on the handling of Peoria, Illinois divorce cases. My last article discussed how Illinois handles the issue of spousal support. Unlike many other states, ours awards alimony based on a set formula. This allows the Courts to make a more objective decision and, in turn, reduces a spouse’s basis for animosity. It is important that you retain an attorney familiar with this formula in order to help ensure that it is applied correctly. In this article I will discuss what one should expect from the trial process. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Trial will begin with the attorney for each side making an opening statement. This is not a time for counsel to argue the facts of the case. Instead, each side will give a proffer as to what evidence the Court may expect to hear. The party who initiated the action will then present their evidence and witnesses. The responding party will then present their case. The initiating party will then present “rebuttal” evidence, which is a direct response to any claims made by the respondent. Closing arguments will then be made and the Court will then issue its decision. This decision will include the final Decree of Divorce, along with the Court’s orders on alimony, child custody, child support, and property division. Be aware that these decisions will be made by the Judge, and not a jury, as there are no juries in Family Court.

Trial is a complicated process. The rules  of evidence and procedure will be enforced. This means that if your counsel is unfamiliar with these rules, then there is a chance that the Court will not consider all of your evidence. This can have devastating consequences for your case. For example, if the Court does not hear evidence which regards your fitness to parent, then the Court may possibly award the other party primary child custody. If the Court does not hear all of the evidence about your debts, then the Court may award the other party a disproportionate share of the assets. These are just two examples of how things can go awry if your case is not presented properly. While how the Court will rule, in any given situation, is always going to depend on the specific facts of the case, it is vital that you retain counsel who is familiar with the trial process.

I am a former prosecuting attorney and an experienced litigator. I believe that everyone is entitled to quality representation and I am well-versed in the rules of evidence and procedure. I will work to ensure that you know what to expect from the process and that your rights are protected from beginning to end. Contact my office today to speak with an experienced Peoria divorce lawyer. I also service the cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington. I serve the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford.