Do It Yourself Divorce in Illinois

By Lisa Magloff

In Illinois, as in other states, both no-fault and fault divorce may be either contested or uncontested. While it is always advisable to seek legal counsel, you do not need a lawyer to obtain a divorce in Illinois; it is possible to obtain a divorce by simply filing the appropriate forms. An uncontested, no-fault divorce can move through the courts quickly. To file for divorce in Illinois, you or your spouse must have legally resided in the state for at least 90 days immediately prior to filing for divorce.

In Illinois, as in other states, both no-fault and fault divorce may be either contested or uncontested. While it is always advisable to seek legal counsel, you do not need a lawyer to obtain a divorce in Illinois; it is possible to obtain a divorce by simply filing the appropriate forms. An uncontested, no-fault divorce can move through the courts quickly. To file for divorce in Illinois, you or your spouse must have legally resided in the state for at least 90 days immediately prior to filing for divorce.

Simplified Divorce Qualifications

If you and your spouse meet certain requirements, you may qualify for a joint simplified dissolution of marriage. To obtain this type of divorce, your marriage cannot have lasted more than eight years and you must be separated for at least six months. You cannot be financially dependent on each other and neither of you can own any real estate. You must have no children from the marriage. Both you and your spouse must waive your rights to receive any maintenance or support payment. The total value of all joint property must be less than $10,000. Your total combined annual income must be less than $35,000 with neither of you earning more than $20,000.

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Simplified Divorce Process

The clerk of the county court where you are resident can provide you with the simplified divorce packet. You will need to fill out the Petition for Divorce; you and your spouse must both sign it. You will need to prepare your separation agreement and divide all your assets such as joint bank accounts and credit cards. Both spouses must also sign an affidavit and complete a judgment form in advance. The forms are then filed with the county clerk's office and you will be assigned a court date. At the court hearing, the judge will make sure you both agree to all terms of the divorce before signing and stamping your divorce forms.

Non-simplified Divorce

If you do not qualify for a simplified divorce, but you and your spouse agree on all aspects of the divorce, you can still apply for an uncontested divorce yourself. You can download the proper forms on the circuit court website or obtain them from the clerk of the county court in the county where you live. You will need to fill out more forms and supply more information than with a simplified divorce. For example, you will need to supply more financial information and a more detailed settlement agreement. However, the process is generally the same as in the simplified divorce. You and your spouse will need to write and sign a settlement agreement and file a Stipulation for Uncontested Hearing with the clerk's office.

Contested Divorce

It is possible to conduct a contested divorce without an attorney, but this is unwise. The reason is that a contested divorce involves a trial in front of a judge; you should have legal representation to ensure your rights are protected. Some judges may also refuse to hear a contested divorce case in which one spouse does not have legal representation. Further, you may need a lawyer to help with financial aspects such as division of property, child support and division of retirement accounts. Even in an uncontested do-it-yourself divorce, you may want to consult a lawyer or legal aid agency for advice, to ensure your rights are protected.

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How to Apply for a Fast Divorce in Illinois

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Illinois Divorce & Separation Paperwork

Illinois courts offer a joint, simplified divorce for couples with no children and limited assets. This type of divorce only requires four documents, including the final judgment issued by the court. For more complicated divorce cases, with significant marital assets or children's issues to resolve, you can file a petition for dissolution of marriage. If you want to end your relationship and divide your lives, but not end your marriage, use a petition for legal separation. If you and your spouse agree to the divorce or legal separation, property distribution, child support, child custody, spousal support and all other pertinent issues, your case proceeds as an uncontested matter. If you and your spouse do not agree on all issues, your case moves to trial as a contested matter.

How to File an Original Petition for Divorce in Texas

The filing of an Original Petition for Divorce is one of the first steps in the Texas legal divorce process. The petition is your request for a hearing to allow a judge to grant you a divorce. Before filing the petition, you may want to discuss the divorce with your spouse and find out if you both agree on all of the issues involved. If so, you can request an uncontested divorce. If you do not agree, you will need to have a contested divorce, in which a judge will decide the issues. Both types of divorce can be assisted by an experience attorney.

Uncontested Divorce Documents and Requirements in Illinois

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.

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