Before every uncontested prove-up (meaning no trial occurred, the parties were able to agree on settlement terms and prove-up is the final part of a divorce, making it official in court) a document titled, “Stipulation and Request to Hear Uncontested Cause” has to be signed by both parties, and their attorneys if either of them have one. A portion of the document states, “We, the undersigned parties, STIPULATE AND AGREE that all matters pending between us have been settled, agreed and compromised, freely and voluntarily after full disclosure, and we hereby REQUEST that this cause be heard as an uncontended matter in Suburban Municipal District______. We further STIPULATE AND AGREE that _____we have waived our right to a CONTRIBUTION HEARING on the issue of fees and costs, pursuant to 750 ILCS 5/503(j) OR _____ a CONTRIBUTION HEARING will occur subsequent to the prove-up and before Judgment.”
750 ILCS 5/503(j) states, “
(j) After proofs have closed in the final hearing on all other issues between the parties (or in conjunction with the final hearing, if all parties so stipulate) and before judgment is entered, a party's petition for contribution to fees and costs incurred in the proceeding shall be heard and decided, in accordance with the following provisions...”
So when this form is signed and entered, both parties are either committing to having a contribution hearing, to determine if either party will need to contribute to the other parties legal fees or they are waiving their right to do that and each party is committing to paying their own attorneys’ fees and legal costs if they have any. It may seem like a miscellaneous form at the end of a divorce but it is a necessary one that the Judge will require before finalizing the divorce.