Uncontested Divorce: Top 5 Myths

If you are thinking about an uncontested divorce in Illinois, you may have talked to family and friends who have been divorced. Getting support from your family and friends is important. But the problem is they can spread the Top 5 Myths about getting an uncontested divorce.

This article is about dispelling the Top 5 Myths about divorce in Illinois.

Myth 1: A lawyer should represent both spouses

Many people call me and say “So you can represent both of us, right?” My answer is “I could, but I won’t.”

A lawyer should NEVER represent both parties in a dispute. Imagine this scenario:

Two spouses are getting along at the beginning of the divorce. They’re almost done with it, then they come to a disagreement. They both want advice from the lawyer. Houston – we’ve got a problem.

A lawyer could never give legal advice to two opposing parties. Most of the uncontested divorces I handle have only one lawyer – me. But the spouse of my client can get a lawyer anytime he or she wants – even if it is just to review the documents I prepare.

Myth 2: If a spouse cheated an uncontested divorce won’t work

An uncontested divorce is about making past problems “water under the bridge” and moving ahead with life. However, infidelity is an emotion issue.

I wrote an article titled “Cheating and adultery: relevant to divorce in Illinois?” The gist of that article is that judges don’t want to hear about your personal problems – to put it bluntly. I also wrote the article titled “Dating during divorce: Dissipation, alimony, custody;” that article explains that adultery/cheating/dating are only relevant to the extent that children are harmed or one spouse is wasting marital money on an extra-marital paramour.

Long story short, people who have been committed adultery or who have been cheated on can still get an uncontested divorce in Illinois.

Myth 3: We need to live separately for 2 years to get divorce

Update: There is NO waiting period for an uncontested divorce in Illinois. The law changed.

It is true that in Illinois there is a “waiting period” for getting divorced with “irreconcilable differences” as the grounds (the basis) for the divorce. However, that 2 year period can be waived by both parties so that the waiting period can be 6 months instead of 2 years.

Also, spouse can be considered to live “separate and apart” while still living in the same residence. That is, people can live in the same residence and still get divorced while they are doing so. Instead of living in separate residences, the court requires that both parties cease living as a married couple to satisfy the requirement that they live “separate and apart” for the required waiting period. Long story short: if you are sharing a residence with your spouse and want a divorce, live as “roomates” for 6 months and the waiting period will be satisfied (so long as you both agree to reduce the 2 year waiting period to 6 months).

Myth 4: Kids prevent an uncontested divorce

I’m not sure where this myth is coming from, but I’ve been hearing it a lot lately. Let me say this clearly: Parents can still get an uncontested divorce; in fact, they are amog those that judges  REALLY want to get an uncontested divorce.

The courts are busy. Fighting over kids can get ugly, expensive, and clog the courts more. So people with kids should also try to get uncontested divorces. Judges like that.

That being said, some things are worth fighting for, especially kids. But people can greatly benefit from working things out in an uncontested divorce in Illinois.

Myth 5: Owning a house prevents a divorce

These days many people have houses that are underwater, in foreclosure, or that they are trying to sell. People seem to often think that if they have to sell their house before getting divorce. That’s a fine way to do it – but not necessary.

I often write fairly complicated clauses regarding how to handle the marital home. For example, it can be handled this way:

  1. One spouse can take the home and not sell it
  2. One spouse can live in the home, the other move out, and the home can be sold
  3. Both spouses can live in the home until it is sold, after the divorce
  4. Both spouses can move out and then the home can be sold

How to get started with an uncontested divorce

Uncontested divorces are very popular because they are relatively affordable, and quick. That’s why I devoted an entire website to it, called “UncontestedDivorceinIllinois.com.”

You can contact me if you need an uncontested divorce, and I will try to make the process efficient, quick, and affordable.  And please, don’t use a shady “online divorce” website to try to get your “divorce papers.” Learn more about that at my article “Online divorce = risky business.”

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”).