Can You Get a Divorce in Illinois without a Lawyer?

By Equitable Mediation
torn marriage contract

Maybe it’s because you know someone that’s been through it, or have heard horror stories of how messy a litigated divorce can get. Maybe you and your spouse already agree on everything can proceed with an uncontested divorce. Or maybe you simply don’t have the money to pay a pricey attorney – you may find yourself asking whether or not it’s possible to get a divorce in Illinois without a lawyer. The good news is that you most certainly can. In fact, you can get the same results as if you litigated, but in much less time and with much less damage to your wallet and your sanity. Here’s how.

Find the right partner to help you with the process.

While it’s true you don’t need to hire expensive attorneys to represent both of you, the process of divorce in Illinois isn’t necessarily something you want to tackle with no guidance. Pursuing a pro se (do-it-yourself divorce) can result in long delays due to everything from confusion of the many intricate laws, missing paperwork, incorrect information and any number of other things. What you really need is a partner that understands the law and can provide guidance through the complicated process to ensure that all your “I’s” are dotted and your “T’s” crossed.

That partner isn’t an attorney. It’s a mediator. Someone who can sit down with both of you to help facilitate the communication necessary to reach a fair settlement so that you can close this chapter in your life and move forward. The first step in getting a divorce in Illinois without a lawyer is finding the right mediator to work with. Do your homework and be sure to choose a firm that can help with all three factors of divorce: legal, financial, and emotional.

Gather the necessary documentation.

As with anything else, the more prepared you are before you head to mediation, the faster you’ll get through it. It’s never too soon to start gathering all of the pertinent paperwork that you will need to proceed with your divorce, such as financial records, tax information and more. If you’re not sure where to begin, here’s a helpful checklist to get you started – using it could save you thousands in your divorce.

Make the appointment.

The next step in getting a divorce in Illinois without a lawyer is picking up the phone and scheduling that first meeting. For most people, this is the hardest part. It means you’re really doing it. You’re actually getting the ball rolling. You’re actually moving forward with your divorce. If you find yourself struggling, remember – hundreds of thousands have gone before you and taken this very step, and they’ve made it through just fine. You will too.

Go in with an open mind, ready to negotiate.

It’s important to note that getting a divorce in Illinois without a lawyer doesn’t mean that you have to agree on everything. There will still be a good deal of negotiation. That’s where an experienced mediator can help. Once that first appointment is scheduled, prepare yourself ahead of time for that negotiation. What do you want to get out of this? What things are you willing to compromise on, and which things will you not budge on? Knowing ahead of time what battles you’re willing to fight can go a long way toward moving the process forward in a productive way.

Focus on the future, not the past.

Finally, successfully getting through divorce without battling it out in court involves the ability to look toward the future, and not remain focused on the past. This can be challenging, particularly when there’s still hurt and pain present. If you’re having a hard time moving forward, you may want to consider working with a divorce coach who is professionally trained to help people get through the difficult process of divorce without going emotionally bankrupt. It may just give you the clarity you need to stay focused on what’s important and create a plan for the future that you can truly embrace and work toward.

Getting a divorce in Illinois doesn’t mean you have to go broke paying for a pricey attorney. It doesn’t mean you have to go to court and let a judge decide on important matters like child custody and property distribution. It’s your life, your future and your hard earned money. Mediation will help protect those things and get you the same results without wasting your time, money or sanity.

Ready to take that first big step? We’re ready to help. Call us today at (877) 732-6682.

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Equitable Mediation

We believe in providing clients with the most thorough and highest quality mediation process possible with legal, financial, emotional and operational support from a team of professionals uniquely qualified in the laws, finances and emotions of divorce. Call us at (877) 732-6682 to get started today.