Contested Divorce in Illinois
Any divorce where the spouses choose to seek a legal remedy for disagreements on the proper dissolution of marriage is considered a contested divorce. This differs from an uncontested divorce where the couple either comes to an agreement through mediation or submits to the agreement presented by the other spouse. In other situations, the spouse may have abandoned the other and as a result, cannot be located. In this situation, after attempts are made to find the missing spouse, a “no contest” divorce, which includes all terms required by the remaining spouse, will be granted.
Costs of a contested divorce in Illinois
You will pay court fees for filing a divorce petition and having that petition served to your spouse. In addition to those costs, you will bear the costs of a lengthy legal action, as you will need a lawyer through all phases of the contested divorce, including the “discovery” process to value the demands and total worth of the shared property in the marriage, filings for full disclosure of assets, mediation and the eventual trial, if the contested divorce in Illinois proceeds that far.
The court may order mediation if the divorce will affect children in the marriage. This is very uncommon but still a possibility. You and the other spouse may also choose to go about mediation on your own or facilitated by your divorce lawyers. This is recommended, as you can avoid the costs of a contested divorce in Illinois by settling major or even minor points of contest in mediation. Contested divorce tends to harden the petitioner and defendants in their positions as they are inevitably trying to assign fault to the other spouse. With that in mind, it may be best to settle as much as possible in mediation.
Do I need an attorney for a contested divorce in Illinois?
You usually need a lawyer for contested divorces. This is due to the fact that those representing themselves cannot hope to comply with all rule of procedure in court, match wits with an experienced lawyer for the other spouse, or have complete knowledge of divorce law so that they may serve as their own legal counsel.
You can avoid using a lawyer in divorce matters by aiming for an uncontested divorce. This will require only one appearance in court to certify a divorce agreement and the lawyers will not be necessary in that situation. You will need the lawyer however, to prepare the document in question, so it is legally acceptable and thorough. This document is achieved either through a mediation between the spouses of a lawyer drawing up an agreement on behalf of one spouse and presenting it to the other so that it can be modified to the point of satisfaction for both parties.