What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

uncontested-divorceDissolving a marriage doesn’t have to be traumatic or filled with conflict. Many spouses are able to agree to a divorce and property split without going to trial. In an uncontested divorce both spouses agree on all of the issues including property division, support payments, and custody and parenting time. However, there are still several steps to go through before your divorce will be finalized.

Steps to Getting an Uncontested Divorce

The first step is to make sure at least one of the spouses meets the requirements to file for a divorce. After January 1, 2016, most couples will only have to meet the residency requirement. This means that one of the spouses must have lived in Illinois for the 90 days prior to filing for divorce.

The parties then must do the following:

  • File a Joint Petition for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage or if one party has already field, the spouses need to file a Marital Settlement Agreement and the Joint Parenting Agreement;
  • File any county specific forms;
  • File a sworn affidavit agreeing to the terms; and
  • Be prepared to testify in court about the agreement.

Only certain cases meet the strict requirements for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. But, parties can always come to an agreement on property division and present a parenting plan to the court. Usually the court will honor the agreements the spouses have made, but judges have the responsibility to make sure that any parenting plan is in the child’s best interest and that any agreements are being freely entered into.

Risks and Benefits of Uncontested Divorces

The benefits of an uncontested divorce include:

  • Spending less on attorney fees;
  • Getting the divorce finalized faster; and
  • Having a better relationship with your ex-spouse, especially if a child is involved.

However, there are some risks to an uncontested divorce. If you do not have adequate legal counsel you may sign away important rights that you cannot get back. It is possible for a spouse with hidden assets to manipulate the process and leave you with less property or less support than you deserve.

Divorce is a big step. Even if you and your spouse agree on some or all of the issues, you should still consult with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer. The independent judgment of a lawyer will help you avoid any mistakes in the process and can warn you of any signs you are being taken advantage of.

Family law issues are often complex. If you have a question about divorce, custody, or any other family issue, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney that knows how to solve problems. Call Martoccio & Martoccio today at 630-920-8855 to setup a consultation.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+IV&ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=3800000&SeqEnd=5300000

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