Ending a marriage can be a complicated and emotional process and if you’re contemplating divorce, you may be wondering about your options. Depending on how amicable a relationship is and whether a couple agrees on the issues of their separation, a couple can choose to pursue an uncontested divorce, saving themselves both time and money.

Divorce and uncontested divorce have the same result, but the way that they arrive at that result is different. Knowing the differences between them can help you determine the best path for your situation.

Uncontested divorce

When a couple agrees about the issues surrounding their divorce, the process becomes a little easier. In an uncontested divorce, both parties work together to create a Marital Separation Agreement which they present to the court. This document declares their intentions and agreements regarding child custody, parenting time and the division of their assets. If a judge agrees and signs off, then this becomes the couple’s divorce order. There isn’t litigation or a trial with an uncontested divorce, so it happens faster and with fewer legal fees.

Divorce

With divorce, also known as a contested divorce or a fault divorce, the parties aren’t able to agree on the details of the settlement and there’s usually quite a bit of conflict. Grounds are no longer used to “penalize” the wrong-doer. The Court is charged with equitably dividing marital property; setting support and maintenance, and deciding what’s in the best interests of the child(ren).

Illinois now has only one ground: irreconcilable differences which only requires a 6-month separation as husband and wife along with testimony that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

Contested divorce is more complicated and emotional. It also involves a trial with litigation, so it’s typically the more expensive and lengthy option.

The relationship you have with one another, as well as your willingness to work together, will determine the best route for your situation. Of course, seeking legal advice from a family law attorney will give you proper direction and ensure the best possible outcome for your case.