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Getting Divorced Faster and Easier: Learning More About Joint Simplified Divorce and Uncontested Divorce

Getting Divorced Faster and Easier: Learning More About Joint Simplified Divorce and Uncontested Divorce

By: M. Scott Gordon

When you are thinking about filing for divorce in Chicago, you probably want to get through the process as quickly and painlessly as possible. Some parties may be eligible for a faster and easier divorce. The first option is a “joint simplified divorce,” which is the easiest process for ending your marriage. It is only available to couples with no children who were in short-term marriages. There are numerous other requirements we will discuss. An uncontested divorce is not as basic as a joint simplified divorce, but it still allows the divorce process to go faster. Couples are eligible for an uncontested divorce under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/) when they agree to all terms of the divorce, from monetary issues to child custody matters.

Getting the Basics: Eligibility for a Joint Simplified Divorce

If you want to get divorced quickly, a joint simplified divorce likely is the fastest option. However, it is only available to couples in particular circumstances. Most significantly, you cannot get a joint simplified divorce if you have children from the marriage. In addition, you cannot be eligible for a joint simplified divorce if you have too much marital property. All the following must be true of the parties for you to be eligible for a joint simplified divorce:

  • Agree to all terms of the divorce;
  • Agree there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage;
  • Willing to file court forms together and appear in court together;
  • One or both of the parties has been an Illinois resident for at least 90 days;
  • Currently living separate and apart;
  • Marriage lasted eight (8) years or fewer;
  • Parties do not own real estate;
  • Parties do not have joint retirement benefits;
  • Neither party has individual retirement benefits worth $10,000 or more;
  • No children from the marriage;
  • Parties are not in the process of adopting a child together and neither party is pregnant;
  • Total marital property totals less than $50,000;
  • Neither party earns more than $30,000 per year before taxes;
  • Parties do not collectively earn more than $60,000 per year before taxes;
  • Neither party is dependent on the other for support;
  • Agree to waive rights to spousal support; and
  • Agree to divide all property acquired during the marriage worth more than $100.

Uncontested Divorce Eligibility When You Cannot Get a Joint Simplified Divorce

As you can see, the requirements for a joint simplified divorce are numerous and specific. As such, many people in Chicago are not eligible for a joint simplified divorce. However, ineligibility for a joint simplified divorce does not mean your divorce needs to be especially complex or contentious. Even if you are not eligible for a joint simplified divorce, you may be able to have an uncontested divorce. While an uncontested divorce is not as fast and straightforward as a joint simplified divorce, it can still save significant time.

An uncontested divorce has none of the requirements of a joint simplified divorce except one: the parties must agree to all terms of the divorce, including property distribution, spousal support, child support and the allocation of parental responsibilities. To be clear, the parties can have children from the marriage and can be high earners with substantial marital property from a long-term marriage. If they agree to all terms, a couple can get an uncontested divorce, which is much faster than a contested divorce.

Contact a Chicago Divorce Attorney

If you have questions about the timing of your divorce, a divorce attorney in Chicago can help. Contact M. Scott Gordon & Associates today.