Don’t be fooled – having kids won’t stop you from getting an uncontested divorce in Illinois. In fact, an affordable and fast divorce can be even more important if you have kids. But did you know that you probably will have to take a parenting class if your kids are under 18?
You might want to check out this FAQ on taking a parenting class during an uncontested divorce in Illinois.
Is a parenting class required for an uncontested divorce in Illinois?
Do you remember when you were a kid, and you asked your parents why you had to do something they told you to do? More than once, you might have heard the explanation “Because I told you to.”
So when you ask why you need a parenting class, the explanation is similar. Long story short, you have to take a parenting class because the Supreme Court of Illinois says you have to do so.
Paragraph “b” of Supreme Court Rule 924 states that, except when excused by the court for “good cause shown,” all parties shall be required to attend and complete an approved parenting education program as soon as possible.”
How can I get excused from the parenting class in an uncontested divorce?
You might have noticed that the Supreme Court Rule 924 states that you need to attend the parenting class unless “excused by the court for “good cause shown.”
So that mean you can get out of the class, right? Uhhhh . . . not really. Here’s why?
Judges don’t like to excuse people from the parenting class.
Judges are not likely to let people out of taking the class. They don’t have to let you out of it. And what constitutes “good cause” is up to the judge. Judges simply do not want to be bothered with a bunch of people claiming they shouldn’t have to take the parenting class that is required if kids are involved in an uncontested divorce in Illinois. You should be aware that a judge might deny your request to get out of the parenting class.
It costs to much to get excused from a parenting class.
If you are getting an uncontested divorce in Illinois, then you want it to be fast, and affordable. However, trying to get out of the parenting class requirement will make your divorce cost more. You will either have to pay your lawyer to prepare for and go to an extra court date, or you will need to take off time from work (and that’s not free). So it really doesn’t make much sense to try to avoid the parenting class. Additionally, it would be very unfortunate if you incurred legal fees for trying to get out of the class, then a judge denied your request.
Trying to get out of the parenting class can make your uncontested divorce take longer.
Requesting to get out of the parenting class can greatly increase the time it takes to get an uncontested divorce in Illinois. Documents must be drafted and filed, and there is an court date that must be scheduled, and attended. All that could add a month or more to the length of your uncontested divorce.
Do BOTH parents need to attend the parenting class in an Illinois uncontested divorce?
In an uncontested divorce – the fastest and most affordable way to get divorced in Illinois – both spouses need to be in agreement on all terms. And both spouses need to participate in the divorce, sign all necessary documents, and attend a parenting class (if they have kids).
Long story short, don’t be fooled by some language in Supreme Court Rule 924 seems to detail how your spouse can get out of taking the class. It states that “In the case of a default or lack of jurisdiction over the respondent, only the petitioning party is required to attend but if the respondent later enters an appearance or participates in post-judgment proceedings, then the party who has not attended the program shall attend.”
An uncontested divorce is not a case by “default.” A party is held in default when they don’t participate in the case (and an uncontested divorce requires participation). Further, an uncontested divorce requires the other party (the respondent) to file an “appearance” wherein the other party agrees that the court has jurisdiction.
Yes, both parents must take the parenting class in an uncontested divorce in Illinois.
What parenting class should I take?
Supreme Court Rule 924 states that each county “shall create or approve a parenting education program consisting of at least four hours covering the subjects of visitation parenting time and custody allocation of parental responsibilities and their impact on children.”
Most counties have their own parenting classes. If you go to the wrong class, the judge might not accept it.
So in Cook County, you will need to take the Cook County parenting class. In Lake County, you will need to take the Lake County parenting class. And so forth.
Some counties allow the class to be taken online. Others require you to take an in-person class.
As an uncontested divorce lawyer in Illinois, I will instruct my client to take the acceptable class according the county in which the divorce case will be filed.