Divorce and Uncontested Divorce
Divorce and Uncontested Divorce
Your life can be full of stress and heartache when you’re having relationship trouble.
Family problems and conflicts between couples can lead to very unpleasant situations. It’s even worse when children are involved.
Emotions are at a high pitch. Bitter feelings, indignation, angry words, yelling and crying — it’s so easy to say or do something you may regret later. You’re upset, maybe a bit confused. You’re afraid of making bad decisions that you’ll have to live with a long time.
In a hotly contested Family Law case, and even in cases that seem rather simple and sedate, you need good legal representation.
Just knowing that your case is in good hands can help you feel better. Our legal expertise can be your strength in this difficult process.
As your attorney, our job is not just to file legal documents and to present evidence, but our responsibility also includes keeping our clients informed and to answer their questions truthfully and honestly in this difficult time.
Domestic issues require a lawyer who knows how to protect your best interests, give you good advice, and represent you in court.
Matters of family law are not as strict as most other law. The courts allow some wiggle room and fudge factors, in the hope of being fair and recognizing the uniqueness of each case. You need an attorney who knows how and where the application of law can be modified — to fit your situation and to make things go in your favor.
Trust the attorneys of Hall, Rustom and Fritz to get the best possible result for:
- child custody
- visiting rights
- prenuptial agreements
- property settlements
- paternity testing
- child support payments
- civil unions
- domestic violence
- high net worth divorce
- paternity fraud
- child relocation (removal)
- domestic partnerships
- orders of protection
- other matters of family law
Not every couple seeking to sever the bonds of marriage also seek to sever the head from their spouse’s neck. Often times divorcing parties participate in what is called an “uncontested divorce” or agreed divorce. These types of proceedings are the most cost effective and time efficient ways for couples to get a divorced.
An uncontested (or “agreed”) divorce occurs when parties amicably agree to the terms of their divorce but simply need the expertise of an attorney to navigate through the legal system and to file the proper documentation to ensure that the terms of their agreement(s) will be legally binding. A case involving parenting rights requires a document called a “Parenting Agreement”. This document will govern the terms and conditions of such things as parenting time, holiday schedule, child support, health care, schooling, religious up-bringing and other issues related to the children. The document that governs the division of marital property is called a “Marital Settlement Agreement”. The Marital Settlement Agreement divides the parties’ marital assets and debts and will further address such things as maintenance (alimony) and retirement accounts. Finally, the Judgment for Dissolution, is the court order which is executed by the Judge that finalizes the divorce and incorporates the terms of the respective agreements and makes then legally enforceable court documents.
Below are just some of common questions I hear about contested divorces:
a) We both hired the same attorney to represent us.
It is a violation of ethical rules for an attorney in Illinois to represent two parties who have direct, competing legal interests – also known as a conflict of interest. Many clients mistakenly believe that the attorney hired by their soon-to-be ex-spouse to draft the marital dissolution documents is also “their attorney”. Although this attorney may have been retained by your spouse to draft documents that you and your spouse have purportedly come up with together, this attorney is still obligated to look after his/her client’s best interest; therefore, the attorney is obligated to make sure that the client who hired him/her (your soon to be ex-spouse) is the party who is fully informed and protected. They are also legally obligated NOT to give you legal advice regarding this matter. This is why it is highly advisable to hire your own attorney to protect your interests in even an uncontested divorce. At the very least, the attorney can review and advise you of the legal documentation already drafted in your divorce. The cost effectiveness and efficiency of the uncontested divorce are still maintained but you walk away with the assurance that your legal interests are protected.
b) We just agreed that he/she won’t have to pay child support
Illinois law provides that child support for is a vested right of your children, not the parents. Therefore, despite what the parents may believe, they cannot use child support as a bargaining chip to negotiate the terms of their divorce. Illinois mandates certain amounts of child support percentages depending upon how many children are born to the marriage. This amount may be altered if the JUDGE, not the parents, find a justifiable reason to DEVIATE from the standard guidelines. If the parties choose to ignore this fact, and further choose to unjustifiably lessen a child support obligation of a given parent, the court may void the enforceability of the divorce documentation
c) “He/she told me I could have the “car/savings/tv/ect.” but it’s not in the court agreement.”
I’m often surprised by the number of people who come to me after the divorce papers have been executed in an attempt to enforce a promise or agreement they had with their former spouse which was not memorialized in the written Marital Settlement Agreement. Property may be left out of the documents if the parties feel as though the property, whether it be antique furniture or television set, is too miniscule to include in written divorce paperwork. In other instances an issue will arise between the parties during the physical division of the marital property but after the judge has signed off on the court order. In most cases, if the stipulation is not included in the written divorce documentation then “it didn’t happen”. The reason the attorneys and the courts spend time drafting these agreements and fighting over the language included in them is because of the lasting and binding affect they have on the parties. Courts are often unwilling to determine the understanding of an oral (or parole) agreement beyond the scope of the written documentation. Although the attorneys at Hall and Rustom have facilitated many uncontested divorces at the requests of our clients, we ensure that your spouse is fully aware that our firm does not represent his/her legal interests in this matter
d) How long does the process take?
An uncontested divorce can be completed within a week from start to finish so long as the parties in full agreement and cooperate in the execution of the documents. On the other hand if the parties cannot agree on the terms and if there are multiple modifications to the divorce documents then it is possible that the process could last months..
Meet the Attorneys
Meet the Attorneys
Family Law Attorney, Michael Fritz
As a partner at Hall, Rustom & Fritz, Michael has spent a majority of his career in the courtroom litigating cases from all areas of the law. He specializes in family law, divorce and orders of protection.
Michael understands that hiring an attorney can be stressful because of the concern of the attorney diligently fighting on your behalf. Michael is committed to working hard to ensure that finding a lawyer is