Top 5 Gotchas: Uncontested Divorce Services

Starting an uncontested divorce in Illinois can sometimes feel like a great weight was taken off your back. In fact, if you call or text us at 312-554-5433, or contact us online, you might have that feeling in a few minutes. But you might want to read this article for more info about a few “gotchas” you should watch out for when using any type of uncontested divorce service.

The divorce “services” we are covering here range from divorce lawyers to those shady “online divorce” websites that you see advertising all over Google (probably the top and bottom of almost every page). Some of the services out there are intentionally misleading people, and that’s sad. Other services are just run by greedy, ignorant idiots. That’s sad for other reasons.

So let’s get started wit the Top 5 Gotchas for uncontested divorce services in Illinois.

#1 Gotcha: Whoops – forgot all about court fees!

So let’s say you know you want a divorce, and you heard that uncontested divorce in Illinois is the fastest and easiest way to get divorced. That’s as good start.

So you Google “uncontested divorce in Illinois,” or some related term.

Maybe you see one of the “online divorce” websites that promises to prepare “divorce papers” for you. They often claim to produce everything you need for $199, or something like that. Or, you might even stumble across an Illinois divorce lawyer’s website that claims you can get paperwork (with no legal help) for $1,500 (I just saw one the other day).

So someone who sees those numbers might be intrigued, because they are relatively low. Let’s face it, divorce is a legal process that can be life changing – so those amounts seem like good news.

In fact, those types of websites went to quote you the lowest amount possible to make you feel good about using their services.

But here’s what they don’t tell you: They left out the legal fees.

Legal fees vary from county to county. For example, fees are most expensive in Cook County, where Chicago is. They are less expensive in Champaign, DuPage, Lake, and Sangamon counties.

In fact, the combined fees associated with both parties could be from around $600 to $750 depending upon which county you are dealing with. In an uncontested divorce in Illinois, there is one fee for the person filing the case (the “Petitioner”). Then there is another fee for the other spouse (called the “Respondent”). Both those fees need to be paid in order to move the case ahead.

Long story short, some of those lawyers and scammy websites like to “conveniently” hide the fact that the price they are quoting does not include legal fees.

What we do: We quote you ONE flat fee that includes all the court fees for BOTH parties.

#2 Gotcha: Good luck with filing, and the legal process!

Court is a fairly formal process. Things have to be done a certain way, and in a certain order. Completing an uncontested divorce in Illinois should be fast and affordable – and it can be – when you use an uncontested divorce lawyer to help you with the process.

One things that some scammy divorce websites like to hide are the problems with handling the divorce process yourself.

People attempting to hand the process themselves can run into the following problems:

  1. eFiling: Cannot figure out how to use the court’s efiling system
  2. Order: Cannot figure out in what order documents should be filed
  3. Serving: Cannot figure out how to serve documents to the other party in a way the court will accept

Maybe you think you can stop by court and they will tell you what to do. You might get luck and find a helpful court clerk. But often times they will be very busy, and not able to walk you through the whole process. And frankly, even if they did, you would probably forget, or misunderstand.

What we do: We handle the entire Illinois uncontested divorce process, for our client, and for our client’s spouse (as a courtesy)

#3 Gotcha: What lawyer?

If you are one of those people who thinks lawyers are totally useless, then I’m certainly not going to convince you otherwise in this article.

I get it. Who wants big lawyer bills. Nobody.

That’s why our system involves advice from an attorney AND flat fees for an uncontested divorce in Illinois.

When you use a website such as DivorceWriter, DivorceFiler, or 3 Step Divorce, you don’t get a lawyer with the service. You are basically trusting the some web-based form generated is going to spit out documents that set you up for success.

That’s not a good idea.

Here’s a little secret: if you want near-mindlessly created “divorce papers,” you can go to the law library and get them from the law librarian (in most counties). The simple fact is that there is nothing special about those websites that appear to be the cheapest way to get divorced in Illinois.

To learn more about a lawyer’s role in an uncontested divorce in Illinois, check out this article.

Sure, you want your uncontested divorce in Illinois to be affordable. But it won’t seem affordable – or fast – once if mess around with a shady divorce website.

What we do: When you hire us for a flat fee divorce in Illinois, you get the attention of a lawyer. You’re not flying blind hoping that whomever create a random website has your best interests at heart.

#4 Gotcha: Bogus guarantee + Incomplete divorce papers

I noticed many of the online “divorce papers” websites GAURANTEE that the documents you produce will be accepted by the court, or you get your money back.

First, it doesn’t really cost them anything to produce the absolute garbage they sell. So giving you your money back really isn’t much. Maybe paying you for your wasted time would be a good start.

But here’s what you really need to understand:

Guaranteeing acceptance of approved documents DOES NOT EQUAL having all the documents you need for your divorce.

People have often called me asking that I review documents produced by one of the online divorce websites. Not only are the substantive agreements garbage, but the people are always missing documents that are necessary to complete the divorce.

The court clerk might “accept” a document you file, but that doesn’t mean the document is actually useful in your divorce, or that you actually have everything you need.

The divorce website guarantees seem to do more harm than good.

What we do: We actually produce all the documents needed for your uncontested divorce in Illinois.

#5 Gotcha: Use your imagination

I’m sure there’s even more ways that one of those online divorce websites can lead you the wrong way. But frankly, I’m a bit tired from writing this article, and I have to get back to helping people get an affordable uncontested divorce for a flat fee.

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”).