Thursday, March 31, 2016

Advantages to an Uncontested Divorce

Advantages to an Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is when both parties agree on everything, or almost everything, without having the courts divide the assets and liabilities or determine any type of support or allocation or parental responsibility of minors (formerly custody). Generally, uncontested divorces are the way most people divorce and that is because there are several advantages to it. They include:

The most evident advantage is the cost. If an uncontested divorce remains an uncontested divorce throughout the process, litigation costs are significantly reduced and not as big of a financial burden on each spouse since the case does not go to trial.  

If conflict between the spouses is low and both are willing to negotiate, an uncontested divorce can be a private matter for the most part. Of course the agreement reached between the two parties and filing with the court will be public record, but the disclosures made to one another and negotiations to get to an agreement do not have to be. This way the divorce can end quietly and with dignity.  In some instances the marital settlement agreement can sealed or “incorporated by reference only” so as to keep the details out of the public record.

Generally, uncontested divorces go through the system faster than contested divorces because they are less complicated as the court is not involved. This allows each party to resume their lives more quickly without having to deal with extra time in court and added emotional hardship to an already difficult situation.  

There are times when an uncontested divorce is not the right way to go and those situations include ongoing domestic violence, either party refusing to speak to the other party, unreasonable demands or greed on one party’s end. The main reason uncontested divorces do not work in these scenarios is that negotiations will not go very far because of poor communication or unwillingness to compromise.
If it is possible to obtain an uncontested divorce both parties should make efforts to achieve this since the overall process is generally smoother financially and emotionally speaking. Plus, most judges and lawyers prefer to settle out of court. Everyone feels better knowing the terms of divorce are agreeable to both sides (or equally disagreeable)  rather than having the Judge dictate the terms that neither party may find fair. It is important to note that the lawyer chosen to do the uncontested divorce cannot represent both parties. Whoever the lawyer represents will mean the other party does not have a lawyer at all and that strikes an imbalance of power between the spouses, which is the major disadvantage of an uncontested divorce. To safeguard the unrepresented spouse, a coach or other representative should review the options available as well as the drawn up papers to make sure everything is fair before the unrepresented party signs the agreement. The other spouse can also retain an attorney to review the proposed settlement agreement and explain all of the legal consequences for a reasonable fee.

If you are going through a divorce in Illinois, contact a Chicago divorce attorney to better understand your options and assist you on your situation.

DISCLAIMER-The information contained in this blog article shall not be construed as specific legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship or privilege. Further, this information is intended for general knowledge purposes only and is not intended to solicit legal fees.