Conflict is often at the center of a divorce. If a couple can come to an agreement regarding how to end their marriage, however, they may be eligible for a faster and less cumbersome process. This is known as an uncontested divorce, and qualifying requires that you and your spouse have every aspect of your divorce resolved and incorporated in a marital settlement agreement.
In addition to having no issues in dispute, you and your spouse must first meet Illinois' residency requirement in order to obtain an uncontested divorce in the state. Residency is established if you or your spouse have lived in Illinois for at least 90 days before one of you files for divorce. If one of you has never lived in the state, speak with a local attorney – the court might not be able to establish jurisdiction over that spouse for purposes of ordering child support or property division.
Initiating an uncontested divorce in Illinois requires completing and filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The petition must be accompanied by a cover sheet and certificate, which may be obtained from the court clerk. In the petition, you must provide basic information about yourself, your spouse, and your marriage. You must also specify that your grounds for divorce is irreconcilable differences and that you have lived separate and apart for six months. Your spouse must then complete what is known as an Appearance and a Certification and Agreement by Counsel. These documents indicate to the court that your spouse has received and reviewed the petition and there are no contested issues. The petition, appearance, and associated documents can all be filed at the same time.
The cornerstone to an uncontested divorce in Illinois is the drafting of a joint marital settlement agreement. The settlement agreement must cover all the major aspects of your divorce, including division of property and debt, spousal support and child support. If you and your spouse will share custody of your minor children, you must also file a Joint Parenting Agreement. In addition to custody and visitation schedules, this agreement must include a schedule for parent-child contact, cover issues related to holidays and vacations, and explain how you and your spouse intend to resolve disputes regarding your children post-divorce. It must also specify how you will make major decisions regarding your child, such as those related to medical treatment and education.
Illinois offers a shorter and easier uncontested divorce process if you qualify. You can get a simplified divorce if you and your spouse have not been married for more than eight years, have no interests in real estate, have combined net assets totaling less than $10,000, and earn a combined gross annual income of less than $35,000. In addition, you must have no children, you and your spouse must both agree to waive any right to spousal support, and you must have lived separately for six months. To initiate a simplified divorce, you must file a joint petition along with an affidavit attesting to facts relating to the eligibility requirements. A hearing will be scheduled, and a judge will grant your divorce a that time.