Is there a difference between a simple divorce and no contested or uncontested one?

August 11, 2021

Short answer: No. There is no difference between a simple divorce and an uncontested one. In Illinois, the law has changed dramatically concerning divorces since I became a lawyer. When I first starting practicing, there were several grounds (reasons) for getting divorced, including irreconcilable differences. Now, the only ground is irreconcilable differences. It meas that something went wrong and the marriage is over. That means that eventually a judge will sign a final judgment divorcing you, even if your soon-to-be-ex does not want to be divorced.


The next question I get asked is how long do we have to be living apart? The answer is nuanced. But if someone is sleeping in the guest room or on the couch, that’s sufficient for living separate. It’s the question of how long have you been living as roommates, knowing that the marriage is dead.


So does infidelity matter? Not really. It does not change the outcome in the overwhelming majority of cases. It does not entitle the spouse that got cheated on to a bigger share or maintenance, formerly called alimony. It also does not mean the cheater loses everything as a punishment. The law has moved past punishing a spouse who is unfaithful. The only time I see it being an issue is when there is either a prenuptial or the new boyfriend or girlfriend is now living with the person who strayed. That can affect an allocation, but even then that is not real common.


So, to answer the first question, a simple divorce is an agreed one. It is not contested. The other way to put it is that a simple, no-contest or uncontested divorce is one where the people agree to all of the terms to end the marriage. This includes dividing the stuff and the debts, time with the kids, child support and all of the other things. Believe it or not, this describes about 35% of divorcing couples. If this describes you, then reach out to see if I am the right attorney for you.