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What is an uncontested divorce?
An uncontested Divorce is one where the spouses agree on all aspects of the divorce. This includes the divisions of assets and debts, children, and possibly other matters. In an uncontested divorce the parties and their attorneys draft written agreements known as a Martial Settlement Agreement and Joint Parenting Agreement. The Martial Settlement Agreement will resolve all financial issues of the marriage such as division of assets, division of property, division of debts, etc. The Joint Parenting Agreement will resolve issues concerning the minor children, such as where the children will live, visitation, summer vacation, holidays, etc. Keep in mind that the Judge has to approve and sign any Martial Settlement Agreement and Joint Parenting Agreement. Judges will not sign any agreements they find to be unconscionable, or those they think will lead to problems in the future.
How Long Will in take?
Although there is no way to know exactly how long the process will take, uncontested divorces can typically be finalized within a few months. Contested divorces (where the parties disagree on at least one issue (e.g. where child should live, whether maintenance or spousal support should be paid and how much, who pays certain debts, how the house will be split up) usually take much longer some taking over 18 months to finalize.
How much will it cost?
Uncontested divorces typically cost significantly less than contested divorces. The typical fees will include 1) Filing Fee, 2) Services Fee 3) Attorney Fee 4) Court Reporter Fee.
The Filing Fee and Service Fee will depend upon which County the Divorce will be filed in. For Example, Cook County Filing Fees current as of October 2018 are:
Average Cost to File Petition For Dissolution: $ 370.00-395.00
(include e-filing fee and copy fee)
Cook County Sheriff Typical Service Fee: $60 per service, per defendant.
Total Average Filing Fee: $ 430.00 – 455.00
Attorney Fee: Varies from Attorney to Attorney
Court Reporter Average Fee: $50-$100.00
Does it matter which spouse files for Divorce First?
Typically, it does not matter who filed the case first. The person who filed for Divorce first is called a Plaintiff, the other spouse is called a Defendant. The Filing Fees that Plaintiff has to pay are approximately $100.00 more that the Defendants fees.
Once I file what is the next step?
Once your spouse has been served the Divorce Papers, within 30 days of receiving the papers, he or she must file an Appearance and Answer and pay the appropriate filing fee.
How much child support will I receive/pay?
The amount of child support paid is depended upon the income of both parties and the number of children of the marriage.
Once I file for Divorce, will I get Child Support or Maintenance?
Without a Court Order you cannot force your spouse to pay you Child Support or Maintenance. However, once you file for Divorce, the Court has the authority to grant temporary orders while the case is pending. Once your Divorce Action is filed, you can ask the Court to enter a temporary order for child support and/or maintenance so that you are receiving some financial support while the Divorce is pending. This is especially important if you are involved in a contested divorce (meaning you and your spouse do not agree on certain issues) because the divorce can take a long time to be finalized.
What if my spouse quits his/her job when I file for child support?
Sometimes, spouses will quit their jobs in order to avoid paying child support. Since child support is depended upon the income of both parties, if your spouse quits his/her job typically this would lower the amount of Child Support. However, The Court has the authority to set child support based upon the spouse’s prior income if your spouse quit his/her job without good cause and in order to avoid child support. Even if your spouse is unemployed, child support can still be calculated based on his/her working potential. In these cases, the court looks at the parent’s imputed income. Imputed income is income that the Court attributes to a parent even when the parent does not earn that amount at this time. An imputed income is an income the Court decides that the parent can make based on the parent’s background, education, specialized skills, and educational credentials. If the parent is earning less than the imputed income, the court can still use the imputed income and not the actual income as the basis for ordering child support or spousal support.
If your spouse refuses to pay the Child Support ordered by the Court, the Court has the authority to try various enforcement mechanisms to compel payment including: jail time, an order forcing the person to look for work and report to the court weekly regarding their progress, or other sanctions including attorney’s fees.
Who pays my Attorney’s Fees?
Typically, each party pays his or her own Attorney’s Fees. The law does not require that one spouse automatically pay the Attorney’s fees of the other spouse. However, there are situation where one spouse has the majority of the financial resources. For example, if you have been a stay at home mom/dad and have no income while your spouse has been financially supporting the family, you may be able to ask the Court to Order your spouse to contribute towards your Attorney’s Fees. Whether a Court will order your spouse to pay all or a portion of your Attorney’s Fees is depended upon your individual circumstances.
Can I work out a settlement directly with my spouse?
Nothing prohibits you from talking directly with your spouse concerning settlement.
This website is for informational purposes only. Using this site or communicating with Jolanta A. Zinevich, L.L.C. through this site does not form an attorney/client relationship. This site is legal advertising.
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