What is an uncontested divorce in Illinois?
An uncontested divorce is one where the parties have already agreed to all of the important terms of their divorce before the case is filed.
What are the important terms?
A party must have divided up all of their assets and debts, and agreed to custody, child support and visitation.
I can’t find my spouse but can I get divorced?
Yes, but it will not be uncontested. Efforts will have to be made to locate and serve your spouse so that the court has personal jurisdiction over your spouse in order to determine issues of property division, custody and support.
Why can’t I do a divorce by publication?
You can do a divorce by publication if you have exhausted all avenues of trying to locate your spouse for personal service. However, a court can only grant a divorce if service is by publication. The court cannot divide up property, make any custody determinations, or order support. All of these issues will be reserved for a later date.
What is the procedure for an uncontested divorce?
If you do not know the location of your spouse, a skip trace can be ordered to attempt to determine his is her current address. Once the address of your spouse is known, a petition for dissolution of marriage is prepared and filed. Your spouse will need to file an appearance. Your attorney will draft a marital settlement agreement, and if applicable, a parenting agreement. You and your spouse will need to sign and notarize these documents. The attorney will also draft a judgment and prepare whatever additional paperwork is needed to get a court date in your county. On the court date only the Petitioner (party filing the divorce) needs to appear, however, it is always better if both parties come to court in case the judge has any questions. Testimony will be taken from one or both parties, and a judgment of dissolution will be entered. Your divorce will be final.
What is the cost of an uncontested divorce?
Your attorneys fees are separate from your court costs. Typical court costs in an uncontested divorce include the filing fee and the appearance. In Cook County the total court costs are $543.00. In Lake County the court costs are $427.00. Your attorneys fees include your consultation, preparation of the petition, filing of the case, preparation of the marital settlement agreement and parenting agreement, if applicable, and appearing in court for your prove-up date. Your prove-up date is the day that your divorce is finalized and you are required to appear.
That sounds pretty simple. Can I do it myself with forms I find online?
The short answer is no. As a layman, you simply do not know what needs to be in an agreement to make it legally sufficient given your unique situation. For example, even if you think you have no marital property, most people are surprised to learn that everything purchased during the marriage is marital property. You may include language that you think covers your intentions and learn that you’ve made a mistake when you try to enforce the agreement. Then it’s too late.
I want to retain you. How do I get started?
You can call me at (708) 466-6912, or email me at email@example.com. I am available for day, evening and weekend appointment.