An uncontested divorce is one where the divorcing couple has reached an agreement on all key issues addressed in a Marital Settlement Agreement (“MSA”) and, if they have children together, a Parenting Plan. Essentially the husband and wife have negotiated a settlement independently with no disagreement on any key issue. This approach to a divorce settlement is sometimes called a “kitchen table” divorce. The role of an attorney in such cases is to memorialize the agreement into an MSA, file the appropriate paperwork with the court, and complete the divorce.
An uncontested divorce is similar to an amicable divorce. The distinguishing feature is the level of conflict between the spouses. There is no conflict in an uncontested divorce; the couple is in complete agreement. In an amicable divorce, the divorcing couple has not yet reached an agreement on all key issues, but they agree that they want to cooperate to settle their divorce as quickly as possible given their circumstances. The level of conflict at the outset of the divorce is relatively low.
Uncontested divorces are advantageous because they save time and money. Nevertheless, there are situations where an uncontested divorce is inappropriate, such as:
Even in an uncontested divorce where the couple is cooperative and has reached an agreement on their own, one attorney may not represent both the husband and the wife. Illinois law prohibits dual representation because it is a conflict of interest. If your spouse asks you to sign anything prepared by his or her attorney it is always best to have your own attorney review it too. Your spouse’s attorney has no duty to protect your best interests even if you and your spouse agree.
Today many couples are able to reach an amicable agreement regarding the terms of their divorce without the benefit of an attorney. Nevertheless, allocating marital property and parental responsibilities can have long term consequences for you and your children. Even if you and your spouse are in agreement on key issues, it’s worthwhile to consult a skilled family law lawyer to confirm your agreement is in your best interests. If you are looking for an experienced litigator in Oak Brook, Naperville, Wheaton, or Chicago, contact us today to request an uncontested divorce consultation.
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