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Contested and Uncontested Divorce: Ask A Lake Forest Divorce Lawyer

When a couple seeks a divorce in Illinois, they have the option of approaching their divorce as either uncontested or contested under 750 ILCS 5/403. Divorces where the couple agrees on matters are uncontested whereas divorces where the couple cannot agree on their issues are considered to be contested divorces.

Uncontested Divorce

When the divorcing couple is able to get along fairly well, an uncontested divorce is usually the easiest way to go. If the couple agrees to let the marriage be dissolved with little to no dispute,  the divorce process can move along fairly smoothly. A couple is eligible to seek an uncontested divorce if:

  • Both parties want to be divorced;
  • Both parties can agree on terms of the divorce, such as child custody, child support, alimony, and division of assets; and
  • Both parties can agree on how costs should be divided. These can include educational and healthcare insurance costs for the children.

In an uncontested divorce, the couple usually is able to create their own divorce settlement with the assistance and oversight of their respective divorce lawyers. Sometimes the couple might need to rely on mediation to reach a settlement agreement or might have to have their lawyers negotiate on their behalfs. The divorce settlement must be presented to a judge, and if the terms of the divorce are deemed to be reasonable and fair, the judge can enter the settlement. This settlement is legally binding.

Uncontested divorces are good because the divorcing spouses have the opportunity to exercise more control over their post-divorce lives. They can negotiate the terms of the divorce and agree about how they want to govern themselves after the divorce. This can be hugely beneficial in situations where the ex-spouses will still be required to have contact with one another after the divorce, such as couples with children.

Contested Divorce

Couples who are in disagreement over their divorce are most likely going to have to have a contested divorce. A contested divorce is one where some aspects of the divorce cannot be agreed upon by the divorcing spouses. These divorces are often highly contentious, angry and bitter – but that is not to say that all contested divorces are highly emotional rollercoasters. Some couples find themselves in agreement about most aspects of their divorce but cannot come to an agreement about one or more issue, such as child custody or spousal maintenance.

A couple will require a contested divorce if the couple is in disagreement. The disagreement can be over:

  • Getting divorced;
  • Child custody, visitation, support, costs, decision-making authority;
  • Division of marital assets, property and/or debts; and/or
  • Whether spousal support is necessary and how much should be paid.

Contested divorces are sometimes the only way to get through a divorce. Oftentimes, because the divorcing parties cannot agree on their issues, the judge is left to make decisions for the couple. This can include making decisions concerning the children that are in the best interests of the children, dividing property up equitably, and awarding spousal support as the judge sees fit. A lot can be left to the judge in a contested divorce, and neither spouse may be happy with the ultimate outcome.

Work with an Experienced Illinois Divorce Attorney

If you have questions about the divorce process, or need advice about how to go about getting divorced, discuss your concerns with the family law attorneys at the Women’s Divorce & Family Law Group. Please give us a call at 312-445-8830 or visit us on the web to schedule your legal consultation with our firm.

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Lake Forest Office

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3333 Warrenville Rd.
Suite 200

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