A divorce can often be a complicated process, but a couple who agrees on the issues regarding their separation can avoid a lengthy and more costly process by proceeding with an uncontested divorce.
Both types of divorce - uncontested and contested - end a marriage but in different ways and under different circumstances. Both are filed the same with the state, but for different reasons. Knowing the differences will help you know which route best fits your situation.
An uncontested divorce, also called a no-fault divorce, is where the couple agrees on all of the issues surrounding their separation. A contested divorce, also called a fault divorce, is where the couple agrees on nothing and there's a lot of conflict and animosity.
If a couple is able to work amicably through their divorce process and agree on issues such as child custody, parenting time and the division of their assets, an uncontested divorce is the best option. Both sides will work together to create a Marital Settlement Agreement that will be presented to a court as their divorce agreement. If a judge agrees, this document can serve as their divorce judgment. Going this route can save a couple both time and money since they avoid a trial and litigation.
In a contested divorce, the couple doesn't agree on the issues and there is greater conflict and contention between the two. Typically, the emotions of one or both spouses influence the proceedings. It's also the appropriate course of action if the conduct of one of the spouses lead to the breakdown of the marriage.
The following are the fault-based grounds for divorce in Illinois:
- Alienation of affection
- Mental or physical abuse
- Drug addiction or drunkenness
- Conviction of a felony
- Infection of a sexually transmitted disease
- Either spouse had a husband or wife at the time of the current marriage
Contested divorce is often more expensive because it takes a longer amount of time to settle the case since litigation and multiple court appearances are a part of the process.
The specifics of your relationship will determine whether you choose uncontested divorce or contested divorce to terminate your marriage. But to make the best decision for you, it's best to consult with an attorney for legal direction.