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How can I start an uncontested divorce in Illinois?

People often ask, “How can I start an uncontested divorce in Illinois?” I can understand why people want to know. And they know that an uncontested divorce lawyer has the answer – so that’s why the ask me. But there’s more a case than starting it. That’s why I wrote this FAQ on starting an uncontested divorce in Illinois.

How can I start an uncontested divorce?

First, it depends what is meant by “start.” For the purpose of this article, I’ll assume it means filing a case.

Filing a case is pretty easy. You need a cover sheet, a petition for dissolution, and a few other things. To be frank, if your case is uncontested, it hardly matters what is on the petition.

So if you think I’m saying that starting a case is no big deal, you’re right. It’s nothing. So in a way, asking how to start an uncontested divorce in Illinois is asking the wrong question. Because when you focus on starting a case, you are focusing on the least important part of a case.

When you retain an uncontested divorce lawyer in Illinois, you don’t need to worry about how a case is started. It’s not a big deal.

If you are thinking about starting a divorce, but are on the fence, consider this quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.”

Do I have to get my spouse served?

This question is so popular, and I understand why. People have images of a burly guy tracking someone down, shoving paper in their face, and exclaiming “You’ve been served!”

What’s being served in cases like that is something called a “summons.” But in a uncontested case – which is one by agreement – the other party need not be served a summons. That’s because they will voluntarily sign a document that makes a summons unnecessary.

What do we have to agree to?

An uncontested divorce is one in which people agree to all aspects of how a case should be resolved. Below I list the primary categories, all of which might not apply to your particular case.

The categories are as follows:

  1. Dividing marital assets and debts
  2. Spousal maintenance (aka “alimony”)
  3. Child support
  4. Allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly called “custody”)
  5. Parenting time

If you can agree to the various points within each of those categories, then you are ready to start an uncontested divorce in Illinois.

What if we don’t agree about this one thing?

As mentioned above, in an uncontested divorce, the parties need to agree on all issues. In fact, one small item can derail an entire case. Either you are in agreement on everything, or the divorce cannot be finalized as an uncontested divorce.

How long will the divorce take?

I represent people getting an uncontested divorce in the Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will.  The time it takes various for each county. For the most part, DuPage and Cook Counties are the quickest.

It is sometimes possible to start and complete an uncontested divorce in Illinois in under one month.  However, that would mean both parties are working at a very fast pace to get it done, and it would also mean that the court has time on its docket to finalize the case within a month.

One thing is for sure, if you are in a hurry to get divorced, then using an Illinois uncontested divorce lawyer will help – as will starting the case without additional delay.

What will it cost to start an uncontested divorce in Illinois?

One of the best  thing about an uncontested divorce is that many uncontested divorce lawyers offer flat fee services. That means you don’t get billed by the hour.

I do offer representation for an uncontested divorce for flat fee. However, the fee does vary. It depends upon the following factors:

  1. Whether or not you have kids
  2. Whether or not you are refinancing or selling real estate
  3. Whether or not there will be complicated provisions for maintenance (aka “alimony”)
  4. Whether or not you will be dividing a retirement account such as a 401k or pension
  5. What county your case will be in (different counties require different steps to be taken, and have different court fees).

What to do next

If you want to start an uncontested divorce in Illinois, contact me online or call 312-554-5433, and after a short chat, I can quote you flat fee that will include my payment of the court costs for both parties.