"Litigating family law matters is never easy on the parties involved. Here at DPG Family Law, we understand that any type of family law litigation is by its very nature stressful and involves unfamiliar terrain. It is our mission to provide our clients with unparalleled legal representation and counsel, and to ensure a swift resolution of any legal proceedings with your best interests in mind." David Gonet, attorney
OUR BLOG OF DIVORCE AND FAMILY LAW ISSUES IN ILLINOIS
How To Get An Uncontested Divorce in Illinois
Many of our clients come to our Hoffman Estates or Lincolnshire office asking questions regarding an Uncontested Divorce. For all practical purposes, an uncontested divorce (legally called a “dissolution of marriage” in Illinois) is a way of saying that both you and your spouse agree on all terms of a divorce, especially the following:
alimony (called maintenance in Illinois), and
any other issues (regarding finances) that are particular to your marriage.
If you or your spouse disagree about any of the above terms, or anything at all, your divorce will be considered "contested" and it will have to go to trial, although most divorced don’t make it to trial. Trial is a very expensive procedure which is usually reserved for divorces that are complicated and last more than 1.5 years. Even though most divorces do not go to trial, a contested divorce could still last one year, due to multiple hearings before a judge and financial investigations being performed.
Usually you do not need an attorney to get divorced if your divorce is uncontested and you can perform a joint simplified dissolution.
You will qualify for a joint simplified dissolution if all of the following statements are true:
You and your spouse must agree on all of the terms of the divorce;
You must agree that your marriage has broken down and cannot be repaired;
You must file court forms and appear in court together with your spouse;
You or your spouse must be a resident of Illinois for the past 90 days;
You and your spouse must currently be living separate and apart;
Your marriage cannot be longer than 8 years;
You cannot have any children with your spouse;
You or your spouse must not be pregnant by the other spouse, or in the process of adopting a child;
You or your spouse cannot own any real estate;
You and your spouse cannot hold any retirement benefits jointly and the combined value of any benefits either of you hold individually must be less than $10,000;
The total marital property, minus debts, must be less than $50,000;
You or your spouse individually cannot make more than $30,000 per year, before taxes;
You and your spouse together cannot make more $60,000 per year, before taxes;
You or your spouse must not depend on each other for support;
You and your spouse must agree to waive the right to support;
You and your spouse must show your tax returns to each other for each year of the marriage; AND
You and your spouse must agree to divide all property you got during the marriage that is worth more than $100, and all debts were taken on during the marriage.
If you qualify based on meeting all the above guidelines, you and your spouse can most likely file for divorce together and not need to obtain an attorney. You can find the proper forms for a joint simplified divorce by going to your local county clerk of court website (Lake County, Cook County, DuPage County) and obtaining the forms. What makes things even easier, is that all legal paperwork in Illinois is now filed electronically. You can file all necessary documents from the comfort of your home.
Keep in mind that you will still need to appear in front of a judge on the final date of the divorce and testify. Make sure all your paperwork is completed correctly, or you will not be granted the divorce.
WHAT IF I DON’T MEET THE ABOVE CRITERIA?
How about if you have children, or make retirement accounts in excess of $10,000.00, or if you simply make more money than allowed to obtain a joint simplified divorce? But you and your spouse still agree on all issues, now what?
Your best bet is to hire a divorce attorney. If you and your spouse agree on all issues, you may want to only hire one attorney to guide you through the divorce. What is fairly common, is that one spouse hires an attorney, and the other spouse represents themselves. Remember, an attorney cannot ethically represent you and your spouse. Just like an attorney cannot represent a Petitioner and Defendant in the same case.
Whoever hires the attorney can tell the attorney the terms of the settlement, and the attorney can prepare all proper paperwork. Once the other spouse has filed their own Appearance (meaning they are representing themselves), then the attorney can communicate directly with the other spouse, and draft the settlement paperwork.
Remember, you want to hire a divorce attorney who you get along with well and who seems honest and down to earth. The last type of attorney you want to hire, is one who will attempt to undermine the settlement and turn this divorce into a contested issue, simply to make more money in fees. Make sure you meet with multiple attorneys before making your decision.
If you have an uncontested divorce, please contact us and we will be happy to help. We will offer you a competitive flat rate (as opposed to hourly billing) to finalize your uncontested divorce.
Hoffman Estates, Illinois 60169
Additional law offices in Deer Park, Illinois
and West Loop (downtown) Chicago.
Follow us on Facebook: