Illinois Lawyer Referrals and Legal Guidance
Common Terms Seen in Illinois Divorce and Family Law
Family law matters – whether it’s a divorce, a child custody matter, child support issue, etc. – can be emotional and stressful experiences. It can also be confusing when you hear legal terms being used. Below are descriptions of some of the more common terms used in family law cases.
Contempt – If the court orders you to do something and you don’t do it, you can be held in contempt and be subject to certain punishment.
Contested Case v. Uncontested Case – A contested case is when the parties cannot agree on certain issues such as support, custody, visitation, and division of assets. The case remains contested until all issues are resolved. On the other hand, an uncontested case is where both parties can agree on all matters. That is the cheapest type of Illinois divorce possible.
Father’s Rights – Although there are some times when a Dad has different rights than a Mom, for the most part this in our opinion is just a marketing term designed to scare fathers who are worried about custody and/or visitation in regard to their child.
Guardian Ad Litem – This is a person who has been appointed by the court to represent the interests of the child. This person is usually a lawyer who will investigate certain custody or other issues and then make a recommendation to the court about what course of action would be in the child’s best interests. The court isn’t required to do what the Guardian Ad Litem suggests, as it is just a recommendation, but the court does consider it.
Mediation or Collaborative Law – This is the process by which two spouses agree to meet with a lawyer or other professional to try and work things out on their own without going to court. If they are unable to do so, the mediator is not supposed to represent either person. This process requires both people to be motivated to participate.
No Fault Divorce – This basically means that neither party is placing the blame on the other as grounds for divorce.
Pleadings – Pleadings are basically the papers that are filed to formally put a case before an Illinois court.
Primary Residence – This refers to the parent who the child of the marriage primarily lives with after a divorce. In most cases this parent will receive child support benefits.
Subpoena – A court issued form requiring a person to appear in court and, possibly, to bring certain documents. Note that others aside from you and the other parties in the matter can be subpoenaed by the court as the court seeks to gain more information to make a decision.
Service of process – In regards to Illinois divorce, service of process signifies the delivery of the complaint by an authorized person to the other party who is thereby officially notified of the complaint. Once the papers are delivered, the person who receives them is said to have been served.
Venue – This is the court location where the case is filed. For example, if you feel the need for a Deerfield divorce lawyer because you live there, your case would be filed in Lake County.
In addition to the above terms, there are several other legal words, phrases, jargon that you will likely hear throughout the course of your case. You should always feel comfortable asking your lawyer what something means and why a certain course of action is being taken. You and your lawyer are working together to achieve your goals and you should be actively engaged in the process and well-informed about what is taking place.
If you have questions about any of these terms or need an attorney referral, please contact us at any time.
Findgreatlawyers.com is a free service, run by Illinois lawyers, to find an attorney or obtain guidance for any Illinois legal matter, including Illinois divorce cases. We are not a place to find a free attorney, but we will speak with you for free. If we recommend a lawyer it will be someone independent of us who is experienced and has a track record of success. If you would like our assistance, please call us at (312) 346-5320 or (800) 517-1614 or fill out our contact us form and we will contact you. All inquiries are kept in strict confidence.