Divorce Trials are Nothing Like Trials in Movies

October 17, 2022

Hollywood loves a dramatic courtroom battle, but divorce trials rarely match the on-screen intensity. If you’re facing divorce in Illinois, here’s what you need to know about the less-than-glamorous reality of divorce trials.

What Happens in a Divorce Trial

No Juries, High Tension

Forget the jury – in Illinois, your divorce case will be decided by a single judge. While judges are human, don’t expect outbursts or theatrical displays. Instead, prepare for long days filled with detailed questioning, exhibits, and the occasional interruption. Be warned: judges can and do get cranky!

Your Role Is Limited

You won’t get hours to tell your side of the story. Divorce trials focus on specific points your lawyer deems most important. You’ll answer questions from both your attorney and your spouse’s, with the judge occasionally interjecting. Expect to have only a few witnesses support your case. The questioning from your spouse’s attorney will rattle you, make you upset and is incredibly stressful.

Unflattering Focus

Every angry text, questionable purchase, or muttered accusation can be used against you in court. The 3 AM rant where you call your soon-to-be-ex some names? Yep, its getting read out loud to make you look volatile. The time you showed up late to pick up the kids? Yeah, that is going to be used to make you look unreliable. In other words, the other side is going to use your life and your mistakes in ways designed to paint a picture that is not you. The judge is only seeing small, often negative, pieces of your life. If you do not like it and get upset, your outbursts will get you scolded, and even during breaks, you might be prohibited from discussing the case with your lawyer or friends.

The Aftermath

Don’t expect an immediate verdict. Judges take time to review evidence and often request written arguments. Results might come weeks later, and the losing party can appeal – extending the process for months, sometimes years.

Divorce Trials: A Bleak, Expensive Picture

The whole experience is draining – emotionally and financially. Imagine spending thousands of dollars for a judge to get only a fragmented picture of your life. Consider the alternatives: a good used car, a fantastic vacation, or college tuition.

Why a Divorce Trial Should Be Your Last Resort

If, after reading this, a divorce trial sounds terrible, that’s the point! Work with your spouse to resolve disagreements amicably. Consider mediation or therapy to find solutions. If you reach an agreement, I’ll gladly handle the paperwork. My goal is to provide well-crafted divorces that help you move on with your life at a reasonable cost.

Let’s Talk Strategy

I understand the stress of divorce. Let’s discuss how to avoid the courtroom and create a better outcome for everyone involved.

If you can agree on everything, reach out to my office so I can help you move towards your future without a trial.