When the Petitioner files the divorce suit in Orland Park Illinois, he or she may ask the Court to schedule a temporary order hearing. If so, when the Respondent is served with a copy of the petition, he or she will also be served with another document called a “notice of hearing.” This will tell the Respondent when he or she needs to be at the courthouse for the temporary order hearing. This is a hearing, typically held within a month of the divorce petition being filed, at which the Court makes orders about how custody, visitation, child support, use of property, and payment of debts will be handled until a full trial can be held.
In Orland Park Illinois, temporary order hearings are held under strict time constraints: barring extraordinary circumstances, each side is limited to twenty minutes to present their case. Dallas and Denton counties do not limit hearings to twenty minutes by rule, but it is becoming more common for judges in those counties to restrict each side to twenty minutes. That means a total of twenty minutes for a spouse to testify, the other spouse to be cross-examined, other witnesses to be called and evidence to be offered! Needless to say, it is difficult to put on a comprehensive presentation under that kind of time limit.
Most cases involve something of a flurry of activity at the outset: filing the petition, getting it served on the other party, then going to the temporary order hearing. After the temporary order hearing is held, most cases will enter a period where things slow down. Sometimes the case will settle soon after the temporary order hearing. In others, the parties will use this lull in the process to conduct written discovery of documents from the other side, issue subpoenas for evidence from third parties and, generally, prepare their case for the final trial—which will typically be scheduled for eight months to a year after the case was initially filed.
Another thing that commonly happens in this slow period after a temporary order hearing is mediation. Mediation is an informal settlement conference between the parties with the assistance of a mediator—who will try to help the parties reach a settlement they can each live with. The mediator cannot force anyone to enter into an agreement they don’t want to, but most judges will require the parties to try mediation before they allow you to spend a day of their courtroom time on a trial. And, most of the cases that go to mediation end up settling there. If the case does not settle at mediation, the Court will hold a trial. The trial will not be restricted to twenty minutes per side, but most will be held in a single morning or afternoon.