PRE-TRIAL MATTERS/OBTAINING FINANCIAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE OTHER PARTY/DISCOVERY
There are several ways to obtain financial information regarding the other party. The process of obtaining information during the legal process is referred to as “discovery”. Each party is required to respond truthfully and completely to written and oral discovery requests. If financial issues are involved in your case, you must comply with Local Court Rule 4-3.02. You must comply with this rule even if you are the person requesting or receiving child support, maintenance, or other forms of financial relief. Sanctions can be imposed for failure to accurately disclose your income, assets, expenses and debt on your financial affidavit. Discovery can be obtained by the following:
- Marital Interrogatories (requests the other party to answer questions) (see Illinois Supreme Court Rule 213).
- Notices to Produce (requests the other party to produce copies of documents, objects, or access to real estate and personal property) (see Illinois Supreme Court Rule 214).
- Subpoenas (requests a non-party to produce documents or appear in court to testify.) Additionally, a Subpoena can compel a person to appear in Court (see Illinois Supreme Court Rule 204 and Local Court Rule 4-2.09).
- Depositions (requests a party to give testimony on the record) (see Illinois Supreme Court Rules 202 through 208, and Local Court Rules 5-2.06 and 5-2.07).
For additional rules regarding discovery in general, and other forms of discovery allowed, see the Illinois Supreme Court Rules and Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Local Court Rules Part 2.00 Proceedings Before Trial. If you do not fully understand this information, find the procedures to be complicated, or need advice, you may need to talk to a lawyer about your case. The Lake County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service can be reached online at www.lakecountylawyer.info/ or you may call (847) 244-3143.
Pre-Trial or Settlement Conference: Prior to trial the Judge may schedule a pre-trial conference. (See Local Court Rule 4-3.11). You must complete a settlement conference memorandum and send it to the opposing party and the Court at least two days prior to the court date. You must also provide to the other party an updated Comprehensive Financial Affidavit (if anything has changed since the last affidavit) no less than seven days prior to the Trial Conference (see below).
Trial: If you and your spouse do not reach an agreement regarding all issues related to the divorce, including the division of assets and debts, maintenance, as well as allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time and support issues if you have minor children together, you will have a trial. NOTE: It is beyond the scope of these materials to detail how to conduct a contested trial. In the event you are unable to bring maters to resolution by agreement, it is strongly recommended that you consult with an attorney. At your first trial date, the Judge will tell you what day(s) that week (or the following week) the Judge will likely hear your case.
At trial, you will present evidence to the Judge to support your case. You should make sure to have all of your documents and witnesses present with you on your scheduled trial date. There are Rules of Evidence that govern the information that may be presented in court. The Judge will expect you to follow these rules when presenting your case.
After both sides have presented their case, the Judge will make a ruling. The Judge may take time to think about the evidence presented before making a decision. The decision of the Court will be entered as, or incorporated into, a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage.