Uncontested divorce in Illinois: FAQ

As a Chicago divorce lawyer who has dealt with many people who want an uncontested divorce in Illinois, I’ve found that people have certain reoccurring questions. That’s why I wrote this article about frequently asked questions (FAQ) in an uncontested divorce.

What is an uncontested divorce?

It is one where the parties agree on every single aspect of the divorce. That means agreeing on how the assets and debts are distributed. Keep in mind, it doesn’t necessarily matter whose name is one what asset (ie, a checking account) – that asset (or debt) still needs to be distributed in the divorce. You might want to view my articles titled “What is an Uncontested Divorce?” and “Phases of an uncontested divorce in Illinois” for greater explanation.

What if an uncontested divorce becomes contested?

I will do my best to help your divorce remain uncontested by helping your approach your divorce in a non-confrontational manner. However, should your divorce become contested, you can choose to retain me for that, or not.

How long does an uncontested divorce take:

It could be done in as little as two weeks. It depends on how long it takes both you and your spouse to review and agree on the marital settlement agreement (MSA) that I draft. You might want  to view my article “How long does a Chicago divorce take? Divorce time FAQ.

Do you offer flat fees?

Yes, but certain conditions apply based on what is happening in your divorce. Further, sometimes a flat-fee is inappropriate  The most likely candidates for a flat-fee uncontested divorce are those who have discussed every aspect of a divorce with his or her spouse, do not have kids, and do not have major assets to divide. While I do offer flat fees where appropriate, it is simply not appropriate for everyone. For example, should the parties agree on every, but still need negotiations to iron out the details, and perhaps require complex clauses to handle real estate assets, that might be a divorce that is not appropriate for a flat fee. For example, while I will handle a high net-worth divorce, it is unlikely that can be done for a flat fee. Your divorce can be uncontested and affordable without a flat fee.

Can both people use the same lawyer?

They could, but why would you? And what type of lawyer would work for two opposing parties? It’s simple not a good idea. However, if your divorce is uncontested, the other party may not need a lawyer. I make every effort to draft my documents in plain English. Therefore, when I produce a martial settlement agreement, the other spouse can usually understand it without a lawyer. However, he or she could still hire one at any time. You might want to see my articles “Uncontested divorce: can we use the same lawyer?” and “Uncontested divorce: a lawyer’s role.”

Why should a lawyer only work for on person? Because as a lawyer, I give my client advice. I will only give advice to one side in a divorce. However, as a mediator I can help both parties reach an agreement, without giving either advice. Divorce mediation is one of my practice areas.


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”).