An uncontested divorce in Illinois is it divorce where both parties agree on all aspects of the divorce. Even though it is the fastest and most affordable way to get divorced in Illinois, sometimes people would like to know the options before they choose a path. That’s understandable.
In this article I just got the three main ways to get divorced.
As I mentioned, an uncontested divorce is one or both parties agreed on all aspects of the divorce. Long story short, you have to agree on how to divide all property in debt, what to do with the kids, and whether or not there will be a spousal maintenance, and if so, in what amount.
Here is the process for an uncontested divorce in Illinois. You know many of them per year and I found it to be efficient.
- Client signs a retainer agreement
- Client completes intake
- Attorney communications with client to get further information or to clarify
- The client reviews drafts of the settlement
- Necessary edits are made, then the final documents are sent to the client
- The client and the spouse sign the documents and deliver them back to the attorney
- The tourney files of the case, and gets a court date
- The client comes to court on the court date and gets divorced
Ultimately, it’s a pretty simple process. For an uncontested, spouses just need to communicate, then the client-spouse talks to the lawyer about the deal, everything is put together, and then it’s only one court date to get it all done.
Also, many Illinois divorce lawyers can handle an uncontested divorce for a flat fee – see this article about that.
Divorce by default with notice by publication
This method to get divorced is used when the other person cannot be found.
Some people call this method Divorce by publication. In other words, by publishing an ad in the newspaper. The term is a bit of a misnomer because one cannot actually get divorced by publication. The ad in the newspaper only serves to theoretically notify the other party of the divorce (obviously, the spouse does not actually see the newspaper notice).
So let me explain the general process for divorce by default using notice by publication.
- The client files a petition for dissolution.
- The client conduct what’s called a diligent search for the other spouse – often, this means hiring a private investigator to do what’s called a skip trace
- The person cannot be found, the lawyer will file a motion with the court asking the Court’s permission to serve the other spouse by publication – the the judge hopefully grants an order allowing publication.
- The client completes an affidavit for publication stating that these files cannot be found after a diligent search
- Noticed is published in a certain newspaper
- After the ad runs for a couple weeks in the newspaper, the lawyer files a motion for the stuff to be found in default for not responding
- The attorney goes to court to have the stuff found in default – once the spouse is found in the fault, the judge will set a prove up date (the court appearance when the divorce is finalized in court)
- The client shows up for the prove up date, and the divorce is finalized
The problem with a divorce by default is that matters of dividing marital property and of spousal maintenance are not decided. That means that either party could come back at any time after the divorce is finalized and asked for marital property to be divided, and for spousal maintenance.
Divorce by default with personal service
You can also get a divorce by default without publication.
This means that instead of notifying your spouse in the newspaper, your spouse’s actually personally served the court summons and petition for dissolution.
Sometimes, a person knows where his or her spouse is, and the spouse can be served right away. Other times, one can employ a private detective to do a search for the spouse.
Once a spouse is served, they have a certain amount of time to respond to what was filed. If they don’t respond, then the attorney can ask for that supposed to be held in default, and the case will move ahead without the spouse’s participation.
The advantage to having your spouse personally served instead of serving Buy publication is that the court can determine all matters of dividing marital property and of spousal maintenance.
This means that all the issues are handled as it should be, and someone can’t come back later and say that they want to divide the marital property or get spousal maintenance long after the divorce is actually completed.
It can be tempting for some people to pretend that they do not know where their spouses so that they can publish notice in the newspaper and get divorced without the other spouse knowing about the divorce.
But that’s not a good idea for several reasons. First, you should not lie to the court. There are consequences. For example, if you pretend that you cannot find your spouse, and you actually can, your spouse could come back later, prove that you knew how to contact him or her, and get the whole divorce reversed. Then moving ahead you’re going to look like. Additionally, you want to get your spouse personally served because if you don’t, you will leave many matters undecided and it could be hard to handle those matters later.
First, you should not lie to the court. There are consequences. For example, if you pretend that you cannot find your spouse, and you actually can, your spouse could come back later, prove that you knew how to contact him or her, and get the whole divorce reversed. Then moving ahead you’re going to look like. Additionally, you want to get your spouse personally served because if you don’t, you will leave many matters undecided and it could be hard to handle those matters later.
Divorce with litigation
Litigating a divorce is very expensive and very time-consuming. Sometimes people think that they only have a couple small issues to work out, so late again in those couple issues will not be a big deal. It is true that fighting over a few issues is better than fighting over many issues. but the perception that fighting over a few issues as quick is often inaccurate. When a case is litigated, there are certain steps that have to be taken regardless of how many issues there are. In fact, there are normally many more Court appearances then people expect. Additionally, the process of discovery, or evidence Gathering, can be very time-consuming and expensive. Even for a small cases, conducting Financial Discovery can cost several thousand dollars per person.
Frankly, litigation often starts a chain reaction which is very expensive to end. However, people should know that even if an Illinois divorce starts out as litigated, the parties can agree to settle at any time.
I have handled numerous cases where clients hired me after thinking their previously lawyers were just running up the bill.
How to get started with an uncontested divorce in Illinois
Many people called me about starting an uncontested divorce in Illinois. Sometimes, with a quick phone call, I can clarify some of the issues and help get it started right away. Other times, people need an end after consultation for a small fee. Sometimes an in-depth consultation and help people figure out how to talk to their spouse so that they can get an uncontested divorce instead of wasting a lot of money and time.