HomeBlogDivorceAre All Court Dates Treated Equally?

Are All Court Dates Treated Equally?

If you have either a divorce or parentage case in Cook County, you have likely heard
someone talk about a Court date being one of a few things: a status or a presentment
date. So, what’s the difference? And, what can you expect at each?

Throughout the pendency of your litigation, whether you are dealing with a parentage or
divorce matter, you will likely have multiple Court dates known as “status” dates; and
these dates are just like they sound. A status date is a date given to you by your Judge on
a routine basis throughout the pendency of your case so that the Judge can get a status
update on your case. During a status date, your time before the Judge is relatively brief,
often lasting 5 to 10 minutes at most. This is a chance for you, or your counsel, to advise
the Judge of any recent developments in your case and inform the Judge of what the
likely next steps are. For instance, if you are working with your spouse on settlement,
your counsel will tell the Judge that you are working toward settlement and request that
the case be set for either another status date (to come back and advise on the status of
settlement) or, if settlement discussions are ending, request a prove up hearing date.

For more information on what a prove up hearing is, click here
commonly-known-as-the-prove-up-hearing/) Status dates typically occur on an either
30-, 45-, or 60-day basis. The frequency of these dates can depend on factors such as:

  • The Court’s availability. Judge’s typically only schedule a certain amount
    of status dates per day; and, with the sheer number of cases pending in
    domestic relations these days can fill up very quickly; and
  • The Judge’s discretion. Depending on the nature of your case (whether
    children are involved, whether it is highly contentious, whether there are
    multiple matters pending of great importance, etc.) a Judge can use their
    discretion to determine that they want more regular updates on your case.

However, if your case is amicable and working toward settlement, Judge’s
may be more inclined to give the parties’ a little breathing room to work
things out by setting a 60-day date.

Although not the norm, Judge’s may opt to give dates which are shorter or longer in
duration depending on the matters at hand. During any litigation in Cook County
domestic relations, once you have begun appearing in court, you should generally expect
to have a status every month/ to every month and a half until your case concludes.
While this may seem like a lot, it is important for your Judge to always be kept in the
loop as to the progress of your case.

Another, typically short (5-10 minutes) Court appearance that you are likely to
encounter during the pendency of your litigation, is a presentment date. When either
you, or the Opposing Party files anything with the Court in which you are asking for
relief (i.e., Petition for Support, Motion to Compel, Petition for Temporary Restraining
Order, Petition for Rule to Show Cause, etc.) that pleading will need to be formally
presented to the Court, also known as a presentment date. At a presentment date,
Counsel for both parties will appear before the Judge and the filing party will present to the Judge what the filing is (i.e., the name of the filing); and a brief synopsis of why the
filing has occurred.

For example, if your counsel has filed a Petition for Child Support on
your behalf, they will inform the Judge that they have filed A Petition for Temporary and
Permanent Child Support and Contribution to Child Related Expenses. They will also
present facts such as: that the Opposing Party has failed to support the child(ren); how
many children there are; and whether any talks have occurred to try and settle the issue.
The filing attorney will also request that a hearing date be set for the Judge to assess the
evidence and issue a ruling.

The final event that typically occurs at a presentment date is
the setting of a briefing schedule. A briefing schedule is a series of deadlines given for
the non-filing party to file a response and for the filing party to file a reply to any
responses. It is important to note that in some instances, a Judge will not set a hearing
date until after the briefing schedule has run its course. In fact, at a presentment date,
Judge’s may set a briefing schedule and set a status date following the conclusion of a
briefing schedule. This is done in the hopes that the parties are able to reach a resolution
on the matter before heading to hearing.

Whether you have a status date or a presentment date, it is always advised that you have
an attorney who can represent you in Court. If you do not already have an attorney and
have a pending Court date, or you are considering initiating a divorce or parentage case,
the attorneys at WARD FAMILY LAW, LLC are here to help you! Contact our founder,
Jennifer R. Ward, Esq. for your free consultation at jward@wardfamilylawchicago.com



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