Anderson & Boback Logo
contested vs. uncontested divorce chicago attorneys

Should You Pursue a Contested or Uncontested Divorce?

Categorized as Divorce, Divorce Process, Illinois Divorce

Getting a divorce doesn’t have to be a fight, and most times, after some initial problems are resolved, the vast majority of cases never go to trial.  When people first get started, however, they want to know the difference between a divorce that is contested or uncontested.  Whether you believe your divorce will be contested or uncontested,  it is imperative to have a lawyer review your agreement and to guide you in the process.  No matter which way you go,  your divorce lawyer will need to complete certain petitions and judgments.  It is important that your agreement is written in the correct manner and that you don’t forget important things that are typical in all divorce judgments.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

 An uncontested divorce occurs when both spouses agree to all the terms that are pertinent to their divorce. Because the two parties have agreed on everything, they would not need a judge to make decisions for them — thus, there would be no need to go to trial. In general, uncontested divorces are less complicated, less of a financial burden, and proceed through the system more quickly than a contested divorce.

Who is Best Suited for an Uncontested Divorce?

If you believe that you and your ex-spouse can amicably agree on the terms of your divorce, opt for an uncontested divorce. This will also benefit you financially and emotionally. On the other hand, if you and your spouse are unable to communicate with one another without fighting or domestic violence is a part of your marriage, an uncontested divorce will not work. When there is an apparent disparity of power or history of domestic violence or emotional abuse, this places one spouse with an unfair advantage over the other, and an uncontested divorce may not be possible. If only one spouse is anxious to settle, understand that both parties must agree for a settlement to proceed in an uncontested divorce.

What is a Contested Divorce?

Contested divorces are the opposite of uncontested divorces. In a contested divorce,  parties are not able to come to an agreement, and thus need to go to trial to present their case to a judge. When you realize that your case is contested, arrange a meeting with your attorney.   At this meeting, your attorney will help you decide what the issues are and the best way to resolve it.  Most likely, an agreeable solution can still result in a settlement, and if not, at least you’ve clarified the issues for the court.   

What Issues Need to Be Addressed in All Divorces?

 Four main issues need to be resolved and agreed upon to get are divorce are: 

  1. Child custody and child support
  2. Spousal support (often referred to as alimony)
  3. Division of debt
  4. Division of assets

Depending on the family and financial circumstances, these issues can either be relatively easy to address, or complicated. For example, if children are involved, you need to determine what parenting schedule each parent will have, and who will be responsible for decisions concerning doctors, schooling and extracurricular activities.  If you cannot, or there is even one issue left resolved, then you no longer have an uncontested case.  After the child-related issues are resolved, the financial issues must be resolved.  Who will pay child support and how much?  Will either of you received maintenance, which used to be called alimony?  Have you divided the pensions and/or retirement accounts?  Who gets the house? 

Do not try to rush the process, and keep in mind that even if you and your spouse resolve all issues, you must discuss these issues with your attorney. You do not want to leave any stone unturned and have unresolved issues come up after the divorce is finalized.  

After an Agreement Is Reached, What Happens Next?

After an agreement is reached, the paperwork must be prepared.  You’ll start the case with a Petition for  Dissolution.  Your case is then active and once you inform the court that all issues are resolved, an Allocation Judgment must be prepared for the child-related issues, and for the financial issues, a Marital Settlement Agreement, and a Judgment. 

The final court date is called a prove up.  You and your spouse will both appear in most cases.  While the pandemic is going on, the courts are allowing divorces to proceed by submitting the paperwork to the judge without the parties coming to court.  Once the judge signs the judgment, your case is over. 

Ultimately, it is essential to keep in mind that working hard to come to an agreement with your spouse will be the best decision for both parties.   People tend to follow the provisions in their agreements more readily when they’ve reached the agreement themselves.  Keep in mind that if you cannot resolve matters yourself, then a judge who knows nothing about you will decide your fate in life.  Lastly, when you have children together, you will see your ex-spouse forever.  At every graduation, extracurricular activity, and eventually, at weddings and grand children’s events.  Think of that when you cast negative comments on your spouse.  Give each other the respect you both deserve and the process won’t be as daunting.  

Whether Contested or Uncontested Get Trusted Advice from a Chicago Divorce Lawyer

If you are interested in moving forward with your divorce,  you should first speak to an experienced divorce attorney.  Never sign any documents, without consulting your attorney.  Your attorney will ensure that the terms you agree to are accurately reflected in the paperwork presented to the Court. For a free consultation with one of our experienced Chicago divorce attorneys, contact us today.   

Was this information helpful?

You May Also Like

Wonder if your spousal maintenance is modifiable? This question was addressed in Scarp v. Rahman when the father in the case of sought to modify his maintenance obligation.  The trial court would not allow the modification so he sought an…

Birthdays are a big deal to kids - they usually get a party with their friends with cake, balloons, presents, and if they are lucky, a ball pit to jump into at Chucky Cheese! The day is all about them.…

Our firm represents a lot of military families and for the most part, handling a military divorce is just like any other divorce.  There are specific rules that need to be followed, however, and those parents in the military facing…

Changes to Spousal Maintenance Law in Illinois In 2019, a significant change in the tax code was made regarding maintenance, which resulted in spousal maintenance (formerly known as “alimony”, also known as “spousal support”) being tax-free to the recipient and…

Illinois has modified its statutes wherein parents are now allocated “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time” instead of “custody”.  The purpose of these changes was to try and give the parents less to fight over.  You can win “custody” but winning…

For Illinois parents that are no longer together or facing divorce, understanding the basics of child custody law is important. First, the term “custody” no longer exists in Illinois. The State of Illinois changed its laws regarding custody in 2016,…

Anderson & Boback small logo

Download our Divorce Planning Guide today!

Get the information you need to prepare for divorce with our free resource Guide to Planning for Your Divorce.

What our clients are saying

Schedule a Discreet Consultation Today!

    Firm Overview

    Anderson & Boback is a highly-respected, experienced Chicago family law firm, skilled in negotiation and litigation. When divorce and other family law issues make your life chaotic and uncertain, you want your case resolved as quickly and fairly as possible. Call Now 312-715-0870