Phases of an Uncontested Divorce in Illinois

Just the other day I spoke a potential client who was interested in obtaining a divorce. Since he had heard horror stories from some of his friends and family, he was dreading the process. However, after I spoke with him I learned he might be able to take advantage of an uncontested divorce for a flat fee.peace sign for uncontested divorce in Illinois

In Illinois, an uncontested divorce is one where the spouses agree on all aspects of the divorce, including the division of assets, child custody, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony), and the like. For a bit more about that, you might want to check out my post “What is an Uncontested Divorce in Illinois?

The uncontested divorce process is fairly simple, and can generally be broken down into three phases:

  1. Filing: One of the spouses must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. That starts the case. Then, the other spouse should file a response.
  2. Negotiation: The spouses can negotiate details of a marital settlement agreement, and a joint parenting agreement (if they have kids). These documents spell out the terms of the divorce.
  3. Prove-Up/Divorce: The spouses go to court and essentially are asked to confirm the statements made in the various settlement agreements. Then, the judge dissolves the marriage.

By agreeing on all issues, spouses can spare themselves the agony and expense of drawn-out legal battles. Instead of taking a case to trial only to achieve predictable results, spouses in an uncontested divorce focus on other aspects of their lives – as they should.

The possibility of an uncontested divorce highlights the importance of communication and peace between divorcing spouses. But if bitterness rules and spouses are intent  on using the legal system to exact revenge, an uncontested divorce may not be possible. You might want to read my article, “Uncontested Divorce: When won’t it work?

About the author: Contact Illinois family law attorney David Wolkowitz at 312-554-5433 or online. He is a family law and divorce attorney serving Chicago and the Counties of Cook, Champaign, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will. Areas of practice include divorce, uncontested divorce, child custody, visitation, spousal maintenance, child support, and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction & Enforcement Act (the “UCCJEA”).

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Christina Mar 3, 2012 @ 6:40

    Im 27, my husband and I both do agree on everthing we have 2 of our own children ages 5,2. I havent be livin with him for over half a year, im not to sure how to get this started we both want it over with, I just dont have.the money for it im trying to see what the best way to get this done with. Please email me back on info thank.

    • Christina,

      An uncontested divorce can be very affordable. Please send me your phone number via my contact form, and we can discuss the options. So long as you both truly agree on everything about your property and kids, getting an uncontested divorce in Illinois should be very expensive, or take too long.

      Chicago Divorce Attorney David Wolkowitz

  • Winny Jun 11, 2012 @ 23:35

    Hello, I was wondering how much the cost of an uncontested divorce. We are both in agreement and just want the marriage finalized.
    Thank you

    • Without talking to you, I cannot say exactly how much your uncontested divorce in Illinois will cost. I do offer flat-fee uncontested divorce services in Chicago, however the flat-fee charged depends on various factors, such as whether you have children, and what type of assets you have to divide. The best thing to do would be to contact a Chicago divorce attorney, such as myself, and get the process started.

      Please use my contact form or call me at Three-One-Two-554-5433.

  • Patrice,

    The filing of a petition is the start of the process, so the other party doesn’t even know of the petition until it is filed, and therefore cannot be in court when you file. I think what you are asking is if you can end a civil union without the other party ever showing up.

    The answer is yes, you can. And you can file in Illinois so long as you have been living here for 90 days continuously prior to the filing.

    When one person files and the other party never shows up, the other party can be “defaulted.” This means, essentially, the other party loses by default. But let me stress that if you do not follow the proper procedure, the judge will not grant you a default.

    Further, even if you could get a default dissolution of your civil union, there are certain documents that need to be prepared, and it might be very useful for you to have a lawyer to prepare those documents and to make sure things go as smoothly as possible in court. There is information you might want to consider in my following two posts: “Uncontested divorce in Illinois: a lawyer’s role,” and “Uncontested Divorce & Marital Settlement Agreements: The Home.” If you dissolve you dissolution without a lawyer, there can be serious financial consequences.

    Chicago divorce lawyer David Wolkowitz

  • Trenette Sep 20, 2012 @ 19:10

    I am interested in a divorce. We both agree be married 2 yrs,no assets that im
    Interested in.we have one child and agree on xtra issues
    I would like to know the price range and how soon can we start this name issues or property to split.

    • Trenette,

      As a Chicago divorce lawyer, one of my objectives is the help people with their divorces with as little stress as possible.

      I’d have to speak with you to understand a bit more about your case. However, I can tell you that it is likely that the cost can be kept to a minimum. Further, it sounds like you will have an uncontested divorce in Illinois. If so, my process can enable you to get divorced in about one month.

      You can contact me at Three-One-Two-554-5433. Or, contact me via my online contact form.

      David Wolkowitz

  • marvin Oct 25, 2012 @ 5:57

    i have been unempolyed for about 16 months and seperated from my wife for about three years. we have no assets, my wife is in a new relationship and willing to sign off for the divorce if i pay for it i’am 55 years old and need a new beginning,can you help me with an afforfable divorce?

  • Sonya Thomas Jan 18, 2013 @ 10:15

    This sounds like a really good idea. Checking into the cost of a divorce, my husband and I decided we couldn’t afford to officially do so. One of our biggest hangups is our financial issues, and we just can’t see our way clear to paying huge attorney fees and making our situation even worse. We had almost decided that we’d have to go the route of representing ourselves like so many people are doing these days to keep costs down, but I really didn’t feel very confident in my own abilities to cover all of my needs effectively. Thank you for explaining uncontested divorce to me.

  • LJ May 7, 2013 @ 14:21

    My spouse and I would like to divorce. It would be uncontested. We live separately in a house he purchased after we married, but solely in his own name. No children or assets. We have lived completely separate lives for at least 2 years of the past 6 we have been married. I am currently unemployed, so keeping costs low is important. I would like to divorce in Rolling Meadows.

  • jenny Sep 22, 2013 @ 0:47

    I filed for an uncontested divorce in cook county a suburban district. Both parties live in chicago. Will the judge kick it out into the city court or will he hear it. Also ive learned that my husband moved after the papers were filed. Help?? Do I need to re file.

    • admin Sep 22, 2013 @ 1:24

      The judge may very well send your case downtown. Your case is a very good example of why people should hire a lawyer for an uncontested divorce. Too many people think they can do it themselves, then mess it up. If you would like my help, you can retain me. I cannot explain to you how to handle your case via this forum.

  • Tiffany Nov 30, 2013 @ 12:44

    my husband filed for a divorce. I never went to court but I signed all the papers. we agreed on everything. his finil court hearing was the 22nd of oct and I keep asking him if we are divorced. He refuses to tell me and I have yet to receive any papers… how can I find out without paying a fee