As with all family law issues, each divorce case is unique. Your family and financial situation will determine many things during your divorce, and may even determine how you file for divorce. Some divorces are contested while others remain uncontested. In some cases, what starts as a contested divorce later changes to an uncontested divorce after party negotiations. An experienced family law attorney can help you decide how to file your divorce and work through the necessary steps.
As the name suggests, an uncontested divorce is one where both parties ostensibly agree about the issues related to the case. This means that the parties do not need a judge to resolve any issues about property, spousal support, or other divorce matters. However, the judge cannot just take your word that all issues have been resolved. To file for an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse must both file a petition in the county circuit court where you live. In this petition for divorce, you will certify to the court that you meet certain requirements for the uncontested divorce. Among others, these requirements include not having any minor children together, living separately and apart for at least six months, and not owning any real estate.
If you meet the necessary requirements, filing for an uncontested divorce can save you both time and money by shortening the litigation process. However, you should consult with an attorney before filing for an uncontested divorce so that you fully understand your options and rights.
Unlike an uncontested divorce, a contested divorce does require judicial action to resolve issues. Common divorce issues may include:
- Property division;
- Determining spousal support (alimony);
- Arranging child custody and visitation;
- Calculating child support; and
- Enforcing any prenuptial or marital agreements.
Spouses undergoing a contested divorce petition the judge to resolve the issues on which they cannot agree. However, it is common for a spouse to file for a contested divorce about certain issues, and then negotiate with the opposing spouse to settle some of those issues. In some cases, the spouses may even be able to resolve all their issues. If they can resolve every issue, and meet the legal criteria established by law, these spouses may be able to convert their contested divorce into an uncontested case. Contested divorce often presents a number of challenging issues, so you should contact an experienced divorce lawyer before filing your case.
A common misconception is that a no-fault divorce is equivalent to an uncontested divorce. In Illinois, this is not true. While an uncontested divorce relates to the actual issues at hand (i.e., property, finances, etc.), a no-fault divorce relates to why the spouses are getting divorced. In other words, a no-fault divorce simply means that the parties are divorcing due to irreconcilable differences, not spousal fault such as adultery. Filing for a no-fault divorce does not necessarily impact whether or not your divorce is contested.
Contact Our Naperville Divorce Firm Now
Do you have questions about filing for divorce? If so, contact the Naperville office of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. today to speak with an experienced divorce lawyer during a free initial consultation. We have served the Naperville and Schaumburg areas for years, and can help you through your family law matter.