Uncontested divorces cost less and take less time because there’s no fighting or legal wrangling. If you and your spouse are contemplating a divorce, and agree on the terms, an uncontested divorce might be ideal for you. An uncontested divorce is a perfect option for couples with no children and little property, who agree on how to split what they have. However, even couples with children and more property may qualify for an uncontested divorce as long as they agree on child custody, parenting time, child support, and property division. It may be time for you to consult a professional Chicago uncontested divorce lawyer.
In an uncontested divorce, one spouse files the paperwork, called the petition for dissolution, which starts the uncontested divorce process. The other party receives the petition but doesn’t need to answer or appear in court. An experienced Chicago uncontested divorce lawyer can guide the filing spouse through the divorce process, prepare the necessary documentation, such as the divorce decree or judgment that contains the divorcing party’s agreement. However, if you and your spouse opt for an uncontested divorce, you must understand that the lawyer can only represent one of you because of ethical reasons.
What’s an Uncontested Divorce in Illinois?
An uncontested divorce in Illinois means that both spouses agree on all the major terms of the divorce, including:
Medical insurance coverage for minor children, if any, and child support;
Any other dispute involving the marriage.
Spouses can agree on their own or with the help of mediators. The dissolution of marriage agreement must resolve all matters in the divorce and must be signed by both spouses. If there are any areas you and your spouse disagree on, you must litigate those issues before a judge at trial. However, you can settle your divorce case at any time before the trial date.
Should I Get a Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce?
Probably you can handle your uncontested divorce with little or no help from an uncontested divorce attorney. However, you should have a divorce lawyer look over your divorce papers and perhaps review your settlement agreement, especially if you have minor children and/or substantial assets.
Spouses with short marriages, no minor children, and few assets to split can complete their divorce process without either party hiring a divorce lawyer, especially if their state has a simplified process that fits their circumstances.
Often, couples use a mediator to help them agree on property and child custody matters. If you or your spouse has retirement benefits through work, it’s crucial to hire an actuary or appraiser to value them or a family law attorney to prepare the special court order you’ll need to split them. Assuming you engage professionals for these tasks, you’ll get everything done for between $3,000 and $6,000, depending on where you live and how much attorneys and appraisers charge.
Spouses with more complex circumstances can also proceed without divorce lawyers, but with a lot of caution because one or both parties may be giving up substantial legal rights. Here, it makes sense to hire a consulting lawyer to review your paperwork and potential settlement agreement to ensure you have made no mistakes or unknowingly given up legal rights.
In some states, couples can file their divorce papers jointly. While in other states, couples often agree to the terms of their divorce, and then one party hires a divorce lawyer to prepare the divorce documents. Here, it’s essential to understand that the divorce attorney can only represent one party, and the unrepresented spouse might be at a significant legal disadvantage unless that spouse has an excellent understanding of family law. Thus, it’s good for the unrepresented spouse to hire an uncontested divorce attorney to review their divorce paper and marital settlement agreement before the divorce is finalized.
How Long does it take for an Uncontested Divorce in Illinois?
In Illinois, there’s no specific divorce waiting period for uncontested divorces. However, you must also meet Illinois’ residency requirements before you can file for a divorce in the state. You or your spouse must have lived in Illinois for at least three months before filing for divorce.
For a fast divorce in Illinois, you must meet Illinois’ residency requirements and settle things amicably with your spouse. Typically, uncontested divorces are faster than contested divorces. However, they can still take six months or more to be finalized. An uncontested divorce can take several months based on the issues in your case and whether your case requires a lengthy trial.
Illinois has an expedited, special form of uncontested divorces, which moves things along faster, it’s known as the “joint simplified dissolution.” You and your spouse may qualify for a joint simplified dissolution if you meet the following requirements:
You and your spouse have lived separate and apart for the last six months;
Don’t own a house and you have less than $10,000 in the joint marital property;
Have less than $20,000 individually, and your combined annual income is less than $35,000.
Agree to waive alimony permanently; and
Agree to an uncontested divorce based on irreconcilable differences.
How Much Does Divorce Cost If Both Parties Agree?
If you and your spouse agree on all major family law matters, you can keep the divorce costs relatively low. If you file your own paperwork and your divorce is amicable, the cost of your divorce could be under $500. However, there are filing fees in all states, which may increase the cost of your divorce. Unless you get a waiver based on your income, you have to pay filing fees.
Do Uncontested Divorces Go To Court?
Uncontested divorces typically take less time because there’s no need for you or your spouse to go to court to argue the divorce case. If you have younger children, finalizing your divorce this way would be perfect. That’s because your children won’t have to see the tension in the time-consuming and expensive proceedings of child custody and child support.
Contact Our Experienced Chicago Uncontested Divorce Lawyers for Legal Advice!
There are many advantages to filing for an uncontested divorce. The skilled Chicago uncontested divorce attorneys at Ktenas Law can help you review your divorce paperwork and make sure you get a favorable outcome. If you have questions regarding filing for an uncontested divorce in Illinois, call us today at (312) 756-8652, or chat with us online to learn how we can help. Our team of dedicated and experienced Chicago divorce attorneys has helped hundreds of clients and their families get a fair outcome, and we can help you too. Call us today for a free initial consultation and free case evaluation.