How Does the Divorce Process Work in Illinois?

In order to file for dissolution of marriage, or what is more commonly known as divorce, in the state of Illinois, either you or your spouse must be a resident of Illinois for at least 90 days. If the your spouse has never lived in Illinois or taken any action to put himself or herself under the jurisdiction of the Illinois court, then you can get divorced in Illinois, but the court will have no power to order your spouse to do anything, such as pay child support or pay marital debts.

A divorce action is initiated when you file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the circuit court of the county in which either you or your spouse lives. A copy of the Petition must be served on your spouse, who then has 30 days to file an Answer to the Petition.

In some cases, you and your spouse can use the Joint Simplified Dissolution Procedure, which is provided for in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. This process allows you to get divorced more quickly and easily. You qualify for these proceedings if you meet the following requirements:

  • You have been married for less than eight years
  • Your net assets are less than $10,000
  • Neither spouse owns real estate
  • The combined gross income of both parties does not exceed $35,000, and the gross income of either spouse does not exceed $20,000
  • There are no children of the marriage and the wife is not pregnant
  • There is no claim for spousal support or maintenance
  • Irreconcilable differences have caused an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage to the point that it cannot be repaired
  • You and your spouse have been living apart for six months or more
  • You and your spouse have signed a written agreement dividing up all assets worth more than $100 and dividing up payment of all debts

If you meet these criteria, you can go through the simplified procedure. Otherwise, you must go through more complex proceedings. In the more complex type of divorce, you must either use one of several grounds or reasons for divorce, or you can file a no-fault divorce based on an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, provided that you and your spouse have lived apart for two or more years.

Once the appropriate dissolution documents are filed with the court, you and your spouse must make decisions about how to handle all issues related to your children, including custody, visitation, and child support, as well as all issues related to the division of your property and debts. If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement on the matter, then your case will be set for a hearing in front of a judge, who will make a decision about these matters for you.

Particularly when you are dealing with such complex issues as child custody and retirement assets, an experienced Hinsdale divorce attorney can be essential to getting you a fair and just resolution in your case. Even if your divorce is relatively straightforward, you need the assistance of a divorce lawyer in order to ensure that all aspects of your divorce are adequately addressed. Contact our office today, and get clear advice about how best to proceed in your divorce case.

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