You may see an uncontested divorce as a way to avoid lengthy, expensive and emotional trauma. You and your spouse present your own divorce agreement to an Illinois court for approval. The process can save time, money and grief.
But, you also can make mistakes if you are not exceedingly careful. A friendly separation can escalate into a costly, take-no-prisoners legal war.
Know the Laws
You both want an uncontested divorce, but it is not that simple. First, you have to be sure your separation agreement meets Illinois requirements. You do not want to waste time and money on a document that will not stand up to legal review.
Be sure that your divorce qualifies as uncontested. The court will reject your agreement if it discovers that not all issues are not settled, which can be costly.
Know Your Spouse
You and your spouse have agreed to part on friendly terms. That sounds great on the surface, but, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details.
Never allow your spouse to dictate any terms of the agreement. Investigate all assets and debts on your own, because your spouse can make mistakes. She or he can “forget” to account for some assets that are partly yours. Or she or he can “remember” a debt that you did not know is partly your responsibility. You may want a third-party appraiser to assess some of your property to establish a fair value.
Know Your Options
You may find that you cannot agree on the terms of an uncontested divorce. Your particular case may not qualify. If this happens, a high-stakes courtroom confrontation with your spouse is not inevitable.
You can consider mediation, wherein the court appoints someone to engage you and your spouse on the issues. The mediator can handle the paperwork after you reach an agreement. The process is less costly and involves less confrontation than a contested divorce.