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Kevin O'Flaherty

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 available to couples without children, without significant assets, who agree on all of the issues in the divorce, and who meet specific other statutory requirements described below. Fewer forms are 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 and 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 the requirements to qualify for a joint simplified dissolution of marriage. These requirements are as follows:

  1. Neither party relies on the other for support or is willing to waive any right to spousal maintenance. 
  2. Illinois has jurisdiction over the divorce case based on the parties' residency.
  3. The parties have either lived separately and apart for six months, or both parties agree to waive this requirement.
  4. The couple does not have children and is not expecting children.
  5. The marriage lasted for less than eight years.
  6. Neither party owns any real estate.
  7. Neither party has any interest in retirement benefits except for IRAs with a combined total value of less than $10,000.00.
  8. After deducting any loans collateralized by property, the fair market value of all marital property is less than $50,000.00.
  9. 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
  10. The parties have disclosed all of their assets and liabilities and tax returns for all of the years they were married.
  11. 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.
  12. 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 more straightforward 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 according to the parties' written agreement. 
  • Step 3: The court will hold a final hearing at which both parties must appear. The judge will ensure 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 are in agreement on all of the issues in the divorce, you may pursue an uncontested divorce.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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