In this article, we will explain joint simplified divorce in Illinois, including: “what is a joint simplified divorce?,” “what are the requirements for a joint simplified divorce in Illinois?,” “what is the procedure for a joint simplified divorce in Illinois?,” and “what if you don’t qualify for a joint simplified divorce?”
What is a Joint Simplified Divorce in Illinois?
A joint simplified divorce is an expedited divorce process that is available to couples without children, without significant assets, who agree on all of the issues in the divorce, and who meet certain other statutory requirements described below. There are fewer forms required for a joint simplified dissolution of marriage than for a traditional contested or uncontested divorce. The forms are also less complex. The marriage can also typically be dissolved with a single court appearance. The upshot is that if you qualify for a joint simplified divorce, you can save a significant amount of money on attorney fees as well as speed up the divorce process.
What Are the Requirements for a Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage in Illinois?
750 ILCS 5/452, a part of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, sets for the requirements to qualify for a joint simplified dissolution of marriage. These requirements are as follows:
- Neither party relies on the other for support, or each party is willing to waive any right to spousal maintenance.
- Illinois has jurisdiction over the divorce case based on the parties’ residency.
- The parties have either lived separate and apart for 6 months or both parties agree to waive this requirement.
- The couple does not have children and is not expecting children.
- The marriage lasted for less than 8 years.
- Neither party owns any real estate.
- Neither party has any interest in retirement benefits except for IRAs with a combined total value less than $10,000.00.
- The total fair market value of all marital property, after deducting any loans collateralized by such property is less than $50,000.00.
- The combined gross annual income of the parties is less than $60,000.00 and neither party has a gross annual income greater than $30,000.00
- The parties have disclosed to one another all of their assets and liabilities as well as tax returns for all of the years they were married.
- The parties have a written agreement dividing all of their assets that exceed $100.00 in value and deciding responsibility for the couple’s debts and liabilities.
- The parties have a written agreement dealing with ownership of any pets.
What is the Procedure for a Joint Simplified Divorce in Illinois?
The procedure for a joint simplified divorce is much simpler than a traditional divorce:
- Step 1: The parties fill out and file the joint simplified divorce forms provided by the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county in which either one of the parties resides. At this time a final hearing will be scheduled.
- Step 2: The parties prepare an affidavit to be submitted at the final hearing stating that all property has been divided in according to the written agreement of the parties.
- Step 3: The court will hold a final hearing at which both parties must appear. The judge will make sure that the petition and supporting forms are in order and that the party’s agreement is not unconscionable. If this is the case, the court will issue a final judgment of dissolution.
What if I Don’t Qualify for a Joint Simplified Divorce?
If you and your spouse do not qualify for a joint simplified divorce, but you are in agreement on all of the issues in the divorce, you may pursue an uncontested divorce.