People interested in an uncontested divorce in Illinois are often interested in minimizing the cost of their divorce.  In general, I find that people are sometimes curious about the scope of a lawyer’s involvement in an uncontested divorce.

Below I address some common questions regarding lawyers’ involvement in uncontested divorces.

Do we both need a lawyer for an uncontested divorce?

One lawyer is more than enough to draft the materials needed, such as a marital settlement agreement, and joint parenting agreement. Further, most attorneys will supply the other party with the forms they should fill out In order to move the case forward.

Therefore, an uncontested divorce is affordable because it doesn’t involve needless disagreement and litigation, and because it can be accomplished with only one lawyer.

Can one lawyer represent both of us?

In theory, one lawyer could represent both people, so long as the joint-representation is disclosed. However, it is a very bad idea to do so – and most lawyers won’t do it, including myself. It might be a bad idea to search for a lawyer who will represent both parties in a divorce, because one who accepts such a job is probably suspiciously desperate for business.

What if my spouse is worried about being tricked into an agreement?

As outlined in my post “Phases of an Uncontested Divorce,” the crux of any uncontested divorce is a martial settlement agreement (MSA) and, if the parties have kids, a joint parenting agreement (JPA). Truth be told, both the MSA and JPA should be written in plain English, and both parties should be able to understand them.

However, even when a divorce is amicable and uncontested, it’s understandable that a spouse without a lawyer might feel exposed without the advice a lawyer. Anyone can at any time hire a lawyer, even in an uncontested case. So a person who starts off without a lawyer can hire one later, for ongoing counseling, or simply to review the proposed settlement agreement

What if I want my lawyer to explain the process to my spouse?

Normally a lawyer for one person does not speak to the spouse. In fact, if the adverse party is represented by counsel, doing so is not only unnecessary – it is against the rules of professional conduct lawyers must follow (with few exceptions).Further, many attorneys offering uncontested divorce services state in their agreements that they will not speak to their client’s spouse.

However, if a client wants me to speak to the spouse, I’m open to the possibility (some lawyers refuses to speak to spouses in an uncontested case). What’s necessary in that case is 1)  the non-client spouse signs a statement  acknowledging that I am not his or her attorney (to avoid misunderstandings), and 2) the client acknowledge that speaking in front of the spouse effectively waives the attorney-client privilege

What if things start to get heated?

A divorce that starts out as uncontested can become contested – parties might find out they don’t agree to the extent they previously believe. If that is the case, the same lawyer who you were dealing with for your previously uncontested case can continue to handle the case if it becomes contested.

How often do we have to meet?

Particularly in an uncontested divorce, meetings can be kept to a minimum. After all – most people have better things to do hang out with lawyers! In fact, it is possible to get an uncontested divorce and only meet your lawyer once in person – and that’s the day you actually get divorced – in court!

How do I get started?

You can contact me, Chicago divorce lawyer Dave Wolkowitz. I’ll try to give you a call back as soon as possible. I can answer your questions about the uncontested divorce process – and you will deal with me directly. In fact, to accommodate prospective client’s busy schedules, I’m more than happy to speak on evenings and weekends.  I’ve developed an efficient process to handle uncontested divorces, including the use of online file storage and e-signatures – to save everyone’s time.  My goal will be to handle your divorce with minimal disruption to your life – so you can move on.

You might also want to review my posts entitled “What is an Uncontested Divorce in Illinois?” and “”Phases of an Uncontested Divorce in Illinois

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”).

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  • Nicky Mar 19, 2012 @ 14:26

    I’m trying to get my divorce fast, my husband and I don’t hve any propery together or any children together and both want out. My only problem is that he is no longer in Illinois. I wanted to know what I can do and how much will it cost me?

    • Nicky,

      Though you may not realize it, in the eyes of the law, you most likely do have property together with your husband – simply because you are married. It’s called “marital property.” But if both of you have been living separate lives, and simply want to part ways, your divorce should be affordable, and quick (possibly under two months, if he cooperates). As a Chicago and Evanston divorce lawyer, I’m happy to work with you to make the process as painless as possible.

      Dave Wolkowitz
      Illinois Divorce Attorney

  • Ms. Z Jan 10, 2013 @ 9:52

    I want a divorce. My husband and I have agreed we want a easy, smooth and quick divorce, so we can move forward. We are more like friends than a married couple. We have no kids. We agree the condo property (it’s in my name) and cars (are in my name) go to me. We have separate bills, credit cards, and bank accounts. We don’t have much money to waste. We are hoping this a easy peasy divorce. What is your Hourly Rate?

    • I have good news for you. My hourly rate for most uncontested divorces is $0! I offer a flat fee. However, we need to talk to determine exactly what will be required for your divorce. On the bright side, you won’t be subjected to an unlimited amount of fees. An uncontested divorce can be quick, and affordable.

      It sounds like an uncontested divorce in Illinois might be right for you.

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

  • Adam May 4, 2013 @ 20:42

    My wife and I would like to get divorced. We have both decided it’s time to move on with our lives. We have already discussed how we will divide the property and how custody of our children will be handled.

    We are both wondering however(after looking online and confusing ourselves) about a couple of things before we proceed. Will our decisions on these matters be what happens in the end, or does the Judge/Court that rules on our divorce have the ability to make changes to our wishes?

    Also, separation, we are still living together and we both plan on living in the same house until the divorce is granted to keep it as stress free to our children as possible. Will this be a problem at all? Our current arrangement is more like room mates than husband and wife we live together but have lived separate lives for a couple of years now.

    Our wish for divorce is simply a matter of we fell out of love and need to move on while keeping our kids lives as normal as possible.

    Thank you for any help you can provide.

    • Adam,

      The judge will likely approve with what you agree to, so long as it is not against public policy or based on one party taking undue advantage of another. I have never handled an uncontested divorce that was not completed on the first trip to court for the prove up (where the divorce is finalized).

      Your living situation seems to fit the Illinois legal definition of having lived “separate and apart” for 6 months (the 2 year period can be waived if both parties agree, and it seems you do).

      If I represent you in your uncontested divorce, there is a good chance we can get the whole process completed in about 1 month. I handle divorces in many counties including Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kendall, Kane, and Will.

      David Wolkowitz
      Contact Attorney Wolkowitz online