Helping Chicago-Area Residents Navigate Contested Divorce
Chicago Divorce Attorneys
Attorneys help ensure your rights are asserted and protected as key aspects such as allocation of parental responsibilities are negotiated
Whether your divorce will be contested or uncontested will depend upon both spouses’ feelings and the investments you each have made in your marriage, as well as your considerations regarding the best interests of your children. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Michael P. Doman, Ltd. help you understand all your options and adopt the best strategy for your circumstances.
What makes for a contested divorce?
A contested divorce begins when the spouse served notice does not respond, disagrees with the grounds for divorce cited, or asserts there will be issues to resolve regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, spousal maintenance and distribution of marital assets, such as retirement plans and family-owned businesses.
This type of divorce may be settled amicably or with hostility. Indeed, the spouse served notice is not prohibited from filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage as well.
Note that even a no-fault divorce can be contested divorce. In no-fault divorce, the spouses agree to grounds of irreconcilable differences and to not argue about any of the other nine grounds that Illinois law recognizes. However, they still may not see eye to eye on such matters as allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, child support, spousal maintenance and the distribution of marital property.
How are contested divorces resolved?
In a contested divorce, issues may be resolved in a number of ways:
- Mediation — Illinois does not require parties to first attempt mediation when filing for divorce unless children are involved. Still, mediation might be worthwhile if you are close on most crucial issues. A trained mediator helps you and your spouse arrive at an agreement. An attorney may not represent you in mediation because no one is allowed to represent you — the whole idea is for the parties to resolve things on their own. Still, The Law Offices of Michael P. Doman, Ltd. has counseled many clients through the process. We know what issues need to be resolved and the ways to go about resolving them.
- Collaborative divorce — In a collaborative divorce, each spouse retains an attorney trained in collaborative law. The four of you work together over several meetings to forge an agreement, but other collaborative law professionals, such as financial professionals, personal coaches and child psychologists, may be retained to help resolve specific issues. If complete agreement cannot be reached, your next step is arbitration or litigation, and you both will need to retain new attorneys. Collaborative divorce attorneys are disqualified from continuing your case. The Law Offices of Michael P. Doman, Ltd. does not do collaborative divorce. We have seen many such cases devolve into complex, drawn-out battles that ultimately go to arbitration or court and may even cost more overall.
- Arbitration — Divorce arbitration can substitute for an in-court trial when mediation or collaborative divorce proceedings reach an impasse. In arbitration an attorney can represent you — both spouses and their attorneys choose and agree upon an arbitrator. The couple may also define what procedure will be followed and how long the arbitrator will have to make a decision. As with mediation, this approach can reduce stress for the spouses and family, foster better communication and provide privacy. Unlike a court trial, the arbitrator’s decision, in most cases, cannot be appealed.
- Litigation — If the alternate dispute resolution processes listed above fail, your divorce will be worked out in court and become part of the public record. You will want an attorney who is familiar with Illinois law and the county courts and judges. Our 25 years’ experience includes heavy emphasis on litigation. We know how opposing counsel is likely to proceed and have developed our own tactics and strategies for countering their arguments and ensuring your voice gets heard. In fact, the negotiation skills we have developed as trial lawyers prove helpful in pre-litigation negotiations as well.
Put experience, focus and savvy on your side of a contested divorce
Contested divorces require solid legal guidance. The Law Offices of Michael P. Doman provides experienced, smart and vigorous representation in your contested divorce, from negotiations through to trial. Call our offices at 847.897.5288 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.