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How Do I Get a Joint Simplified Divorce in Illinois?

How Do I Get a Joint Simplified Divorce in Illinois?

By: M. Scott Gordon

If you are thinking about filing for divorce in the Chicago area, you may know that there are two types of divorce in general: contested divorce and uncontested divorce. On the one hand, an uncontested divorce is one in which the parties agree on all aspects of the divorce, from the division of marital property to spousal support and the allocations of parental responsibilities. On the other hand, a contested divorce is one in which the parties disagree about one or more issues involved in the divorce proceeding and cannot reach an agreement. An uncontested divorce tends to go much more quickly than a contested divorce given that there is no need to present both sides to the court and for the court to make a ruling about the divorce matters at issue.

While an uncontested divorce in general is often simpler and quicker than a contested divorce, it is important for Chicago area residents to know that some uncontested divorces may be applicable for a for a joint simplified divorce process, in certain circumstances. Some couples assume that a joint simplified dissolution of marriage is available to most parties to speed up the divorce process, but there are nearly a dozen specific requirements that must be met in order for parties to file a petition for a joint simplified divorce.

What is a Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage?

A joint simplified divorce is a procedure under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) that allows for a simplified divorce proceeding. However, it is not available in all circumstances. In order to be eligible for a joint simplified dissolution, all of the following must be true:

  • Parties agree to all aspects of the divorce, including all matters concerning the distribution of marital property;
  • Parties agree to divide all marital property worth more than $100 through a written agreement;
  • Parties both allege irreconcilable differences;
  • Marriage did not last longer than 8 years;
  • Neither party is reliant on the other party for support;
  • Neither party is seeking spousal maintenance, and the parties are willing to waive their right to spousal maintenance;
  • At least one of the parties has been a resident of Illinois for at least 90 days;
  • No children were born from the marriage;
  • Wife is not currently pregnant;
  • Parties do not own any real estate together;
  • Parties do not own any joint retirement benefits (or combined value of retirement accounts is less than $10,000);
  • Combined marital assets, minus any marital debt, is less than $50,000;
  • Each spouse individually does not earn more than $30,000;
  • Together the parties do not earn more than $60,000 annually before taxes; and
  • Parties properly disclosed all of their assets and liabilities in their tax returns during the years that they were married.

Contact a Chicago Divorce Lawyer

While a joint simplified divorce procedure might seem appealing, it is only available in very limited circumstances. To learn more about uncontested divorce and negotiating a divorce settlement, you should speak with a Chicago divorce attorney as soon as you can. Contact M. Scott Gordon & Associates today.