COURT APPEARANCES

COURT APPEARANCES
REQUIREMENT.  At least one court appearance is required for a divorce to be
granted.   Most divorces, unless completely agreed upon, will have multiple court
appearances with the actual number depending how many issues in the divorce
are contested, the conduct of the Wife and the Husband during the divorce, and
the procedure of the county in which the divorce is being heard.


TYPES OF COURT DATE.  Not all court dates function the same.  The type of court
date dictates the information the judge wants, the role of the attorney(s), and
whether the client must be present in court.

Case Management Conference.  This is the court date set when the divorce
petition is filed.  This type of court date is designed to inform the court of the
progress of the divorce and set deadline for certain events in the divorce.  If the
divorcing couple has children, the
Illinois Supreme Court Rules will dictate the
timing of this court date.  If the divorce is resolved quickly or is uncontested, this
court date may never occur.  It is common to have several case management
conferences during a contested divorce.  

Status.  This is the most common type of court date.  These are set to give the
couple or their attorneys time to negotiate the case and obtain discovery
information.  

Pre-trial Conferences.  This is when the couple or their attorneys can speak
with the presiding judge informally about the facts of the divorce and be given
direction as to the judge's ruling.  The exact format and procedure is dictated by
the presiding judge.

Hearings/Trial.  These terms are used interchangeably to indicate a time before
the judge when contested issues can be formally resolved and a ruling given.  
The presiding judge dictates the formality of these dates based on the reason
for the hearing and divorce itself.  The number of days required to complete a
hearing/trial depends on the complexity and number of issues as well as the
availability of the court's calendar.  Some days the hearing will only last for a few
hours and other days it could be the entire afternoon or day.

Prove-up.  This term is used to denote the court date when the divorce will be
finalized.  Most judges have specific days and times set aside for these court
dates.  The presiding judge dictates the formality of this date depending on the
divorcing couple, the couple's attorney(s), and the divorce itself.  This court date
is when the
judgment is signed by the presiding judge officially granting the
divorce.


UNCONTESTED DIVORCE.  If the divorce is completely agreed upon, the only
court appearance necessary is the prove-up.  At this date, the divorcing couple or
their attorney(s), present the presiding judge with the
Judgment, the Marital
Settlement Agreement, and Parenting Agreement if the couple has children.  
All requirements must be met by the divorcing couple before the judgment will
be signed, as called entered.  If the requirements have not been met, the
divorcing couple must be given time to meet the requirements and appear
before the judge at a status or another prove-up.


CONTESTED DIVORCE.  If the divorcing couple cannot agree on all issues of the
divorce immediately, the parties will have multiple court dates.  The greater the
number of contested issues, the greater the number of court dates and, of
course, the greater the length and cost of the divorce.  

Contested Custody.  If the divorcing couple has children and cannot agree upon
all issues pertaining to custody, the couple will first appear in court at a status or
case management conference and be ordered to attend mediation.  The couple
will then attend a status date to report on the productivity of mediation.  If the
custody issues have not been resolved, an
attorney for the child/children will
most likely be appointed.  There will be numerous court dates until the attorney
for the child/children has reached a decision and filed a report.  These court
dates can be a status or a case management conference.  If the report of the
attorney for the child/children does not resolve all custody issues, the judge may
set a pre-trial or set the matter for hearing/trial.  

Contested Visitation.  If the divorcing couple has children and cannot agree
upon all issues pertaining to visitation, the couple will first appear in court at a
status or case management conference and be ordered to attend mediation.  
The couple will then attend a status date to report on the productivity of
mediation.  If the visitation issues have not been resolved, the presiding judge
may appoint an
attorney for the child/children.  The judge could set a pre-trial to
attempt to resolve the disputes issues especially if there are only a few disputed
issues and if unsuccessful set a hearing/trial.  If an attorney for the child/children
is appointed, there will be numerous court dates until the attorney for the
child/children has reached a decision and filed a report.  These court dates can
be a status or a case management conference.  If the report of the attorney for
the child/children does not resolve all custody issues, the judge may set a
pre-trial or set the matter for hearing/trial.  

Contested financial issues.  If the divorcing couple cannot agree upon all
financial issues but has resolved the issues of custody/visitation or does not
have any children, the court may set a pre-trial date to attempt to resolve these
issues or set the matter for hearing/trial.