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Family crises resolved faster with new Lake County processes

It is no secret that divorce, child support and custody and other family law matters are stressful for everyone involved. One of the pain points is the necessary involvement of the family court. Even in uncontested divorces and settlements reached through the collaborative law process, some court involvement is necessary. The hope is that court appearances -- hearings and even trials -- will move forward quickly.

That hasn't always been true in Lake County. In the past few months, though, county officials have taken a few steps to streamline family court procedures and to help families resolve their legal matters in a more timely fashion. After all, everyone benefits if differences can be cleared up and couples and families can move on with their lives.

At the end of November 2012, the county instituted a "trial call" system in the Family Division. In the past, hearings were held in the mornings, and the afternoons were reserved for trials. The problem was that trials could last longer than one afternoon. The way the calendar was managed meant that one trial could take place over a couple of months. The result was frustration all around. For clients, there could also be added expense.

The new system runs on a two-week cycle for each courtroom, with the first week devoted entirely to trials. During the second week, the morning sessions are open for motions and other procedural matters; during the afternoons, trials can finish up. With the added plus of a new case management system, the whole process will save time and reduce stress for court personnel and, of course, couples and families.

Earlier this month, the county completed the third phase of the Family Division improvement process by opening a new courtroom. The additional courtroom will allow more cases to move ahead more quickly. The courtroom also features an adjoining conference room, where couples can meet privately to discuss custody, visitation, support and other matters, and where attorneys can meet with their clients.

Lake County has four family court judges right now. The division handles about 2,600 cases a year, or about 54 cases every month for each judge.

Source: Lake Zurich Courier, "New Lake County divorce courtroom aimed at speeding up process," Frank Abderholden, Jan. 14, 2013

Our firm works with people in Lake County, Illinois, on family law matters like the ones referred to above. If you are interested, you can find more information about our practice on our website.

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