What To Expect At Trial
At Butler, Giraudo & Meister, P.C., our family law attorneys serve clients in Peoria and Tazewell counties and throughout Central Illinois. Our attorneys are passionate about advocating for clients who have family issues. We understand how important your case is to you and your family, and we make it a priority to do our very best to reach a successful result for you.
Peoria Grounds Hearing Attorneys
In order to proceed in a divorce, the petitioner in the case must establish that there are proper grounds for the divorce. Ninety-nine percent of our clients have uncontested grounds hearings. This has been the case since the Illinois legislature added irreconcilable differences as a ground for divorce. Prior to that time, a couple had to live separately and avoid any intimacy for at least two years or they had to establish grounds for a divorce, such as adultery or abandonment.
Uncontested grounds hearing are very quick. The parties and their attorneys enter the courtroom. There is a brief hearing that often only includes the judge and the clerk in the room. The petitioning party alone testifies as to a few basic facts. There is no drama and no cross-examination in this quick preliminary hearing.
Children’s Issues Hearing
If the parties do not agree on the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) or parenting time (visitation), a hearing is held on these issues. The hearing regarding children’s issues has the potential to be one of the most emotionally draining, arduous and challenging efforts that any client and his or her attorney ever endure. You can expect this hearing to last anywhere from half a day to several days.
The primary force and testimony in this hearing will be from the parents. However, people who have observed the parent interacting with the child, including relatives, friends and other people who have regular and frequent contact, can testify.
One of the most significant and informed witnesses in any parenting plan case are teachers of the child or children. Teachers spend a large amount of time with the children, see them free from influence of parents and have great insight into the needs of the child, including emotional, physical and mental health, and educational needs. Generally, the teacher has developed a rapport with the child and one or both of the parents.
Also, in child-related matters, there are often mental health professionals, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers who evaluate the parties and children with an eye toward making a recommendation as to which parent would more aptly serve the best interests of the children.
Often a guardian ad litem has been appointed to look out for the best interests of the child. In those cases, that person will be called to testify and submit a written report. Our attorneys are qualified to serve as guardians ad litem. This experience of representing the best interests of children enhances our ability to advocate on behalf of our clients.
Property Distribution Hearing
Preparation is the key to success when it comes to the property distribution hearing. We strive to organize and condense all of the assets, liabilities and other marital property issues into a format which is easily understood by the court and everyone involved in the hearing so we can present a cohesive case to the judge. The hearing can last anywhere from a couple of hours to several days. In the majority of cases, only the husband and wife testify; however, additional witnesses may include accountants, vocational experts, appraisers and valuation witnesses. Spousal maintenance and attorney fees may be a part of this hearing as well.
Consultation With A Lawyer
To arrange a consultation with property distribution attorney Susan Butler, Kelly Giraudo or Tamara Meister to discuss what to expect at trial, call 309-263-1204 (Morton) or 309-407-3332 (Peoria), or contact our family law firm online.