If you want a fast and affordable divorce in Illinois, then an uncontested divorce is for you. But what if your spouse won’t agree? Whether you live in Cook, DuPage, or Lake county, you need the agreement of your husband or wife to get divorced in Illinois.
One thing that can be useful in getting your spouse to agree to an uncontested divorce is to give him or her a dose of reality. Below are a couple points that can be useful in encouraging someone to get an uncontested divorce.
If you want a fast and affordable divorce in Illinois, it might be useful to make your husband or wife aware of the following.
Fighting is expensive
When people contact me about uncontested divorce in Illinois, I can often offer a flat fee. But if spouses are fighting, there is no flat fee available.
Here’s a few facts about costs of fighting during a divorce in Illinois:
- Retainers: Retainers are pre-paid legal fees to a lawyer that the lawyer holds in trust until the client is invoiced and the funds are then withdrawn as payment to the lawyer. Generally speaking, the larger your case is, the larger your retainer will be.
- Lawyer’s hourly fee: Divorce lawyers charge an hourly fee for contested matters. Hourly fees can vary greatly, from $200 per hour to even $700 per hour. The fees vary based on the lawyer’s experience, and other economic factors, such as the lawyer’s overhead (lots of lawyers waste money on fancy offices).
- Court-ordered costs: Particularly when kids are involved, the court can force the parties to bear certain costs. For example, the court can appoint a guardian ad litem (aka “GAL”) or a child’s representative (aka “child’s rep”). A child’s rep acts as as lawyer for the child, representing the child’s interest in court. A GAL acts as a witness, interviewing the parties, the child, and other witnesses, and reports to the court. What you need to know about a child’s rep and GAL are that you will have to pay for them. So instead of just you and your spouse having a lawyer, now there’s a third lawyer involved. Expenses for a GAL or child’s rep can easily run into the multiple thousands of dollars range.
- Experts: In divorce court, there are certain burdens that must be met for certain types of facts to be proven. Sometimes, experts are needed to testify as to some fact someone is trying to prove. Experts aren’t cheap.
- Missing work: If your divorce cases involves fighting, you may have to miss work. While you won’t have to go to all court appearances, you will have to go to hearings and trials at which you have to testify. Whether you simply are taking vacation days or just not being paid, it really all the same in the end – your losing money be missing work going to court.
Judge might order the house sold
I’ve found that many times when people fight about their divorce they don’t fully consider what might happen to their largest asset – the house.
If people disagree about what should happen to the house, the judge can order it sold. The proceeds can then be split amongst the parties as the judge sees fit. It’s rather common for at least one of the parties not to want the house sold. Therefore, explaining that this might happen can be persuasive in convincing someone to get a fast and affordable uncontested divorce in Illinois.
Fighting can take a long time
Have you always dreamed of living like a billionaire without a pre-nuptial agreement? If so, then fighting about your divorce might make your dream come true!
Divorce in Illinois can take a long time. Many people think that a divorce is very simple. They believe each party simply states his or her case, and the judge decides. But that’s not how it works. Below are some examples of how long things take when you fight about your divorce.
- Staring the case: After the case is filed, the first day in court might not be for two months. And guess what happens then? Probably nothing. It’s just to see if the other side wants time to respond in writing (or something like that).
- Discovery: “Discovery” is the evidence-gathering process – it’s also a noun – meaning evidence. The process of discovery can take a very long time. Maybe even 6 months. Then, if more evidence is discovered later, the time might be extended. Discovery is important because if you are fighting about your divorce you need some evidence to back up your claims.
- Motions: A motion is a document filed in which you ask the court to order something. If one side files a motion, the motion will be presented to the court in perhaps 1 week. Then the other side might have 21 days to respond. Then, the party who filed the motion might have 14 days to give a reply to the response. So already it has been about 6 weeks since the motion has been filed, and still, nothing has happened. And by the way – you still need to get a hearing date on the motion so the judge can rule on it. That hearing date might be one month away. That’s how it can take several months for a judge to rule on one motion. And in a hotly litigated case, there will be numerous motions.
Compare all that to an uncontested divorce in Illinois – it might not take much longer than one month. See my article, “Divorce after one visit to court? Yes!”
Both of you might not like what the judge orders
If you fight about your divorce in court, the judge will make a decision. What many people don’t realize is that the case is not usually as simple as one winner and one loser. Many times, both people lose. This is for several reasons. One reason is that judges have limited information with which to craft the best judgment – no matter what is presented at trial. Also, judges simply don’t have the resources to draft a judgment to produce the most equitable and just outcome. Judges need to draft judgments that are not unconscionable – and that means judgments have to meet only a low bar to pass legal muster.
In contrast, a carefully crafted marital settlement agreement – like what I do during a fast and affordable uncontested divorce in Illinois – can leave both parties better off. For more about dividing property, see my article, “How is Property Divided in Illinois Divorce? FAQ.”