Uncontested Divorce in Illinois
In Illinois, an uncontested divorce is where parties agree on all divorce topics including parenting time, property division, and more. Uncontested divorces are a quick and simple way to get a divorce. The fastest way to get a divorce is a joint simplified dissolution, but there are stricter requirements for this type of divorce.
When parties agree on everything, their divorce is uncontested. But understandably, it’s hard for most people to find an outcome that both parties are happy with.
If you do agree with your spouse on what to do, the court has specific documents and a special procedure to expedite the process. And you can get an even faster divorce with a joint simplified dissolution if you meet all of the requirements. In short, a joint simplified divorce is like an uncontested divorce for people with no assets and no kids (all requirements listed below).
The Definition of an Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce is one where parties file for divorce already knowing they agree on all the divorce topics. The marital settlement agreement details their plan and agreement for each of the divorce topics:
The last three topics only apply if you have children with the other party that are under 18. Most issues surrounding any children are outlined in the parenting plan.
Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce
The key benefits to an uncontested divorce are that they are easier, shorter, and cheaper.
- Easier – They are less stressful because there is less arguing.
- Shorter – They go faster because there is less disagreement and there is a specific process for them.
- Cheaper – They are cheaper because you don’t need as much help from an attorney.
As great as they can be, most divorcing couples can’t get an uncontested divorce because they don’t agree on one or more topics.
Uncontested Divorce Requirements
There are only two requirements that need to be met to get an uncontested divorce:
- Agree on all the divorce issues and
- Meet Illinois’s residency requirements.
If you meet both requirements, then you can begin the process and file for your divorce.
The Uncontested Divorce Process in Illinois
An uncontested divorce usually takes a couple months but can last as long as six months or more. To start the uncontested divorce process, you or the other party files the necessary paperwork with your county’s clerk of courts. Whoever files has to serve the other party or that other party must sign an Entry of Appearance.
After the initial filing and response, the court schedules your hearing. Both parties attend the hearing to see whether the court approves their agreement. If all the papers are in order and if the agreement is fair for each party, then the divorce can finish. To finalize the divorce, the judge signs the final dissolution judgment.
Uncontested by Default
Another way a divorce can be uncontested is if one party files and the other party doesn’t respond. If they don’t file their response, the case will go on without the other spouse, and the court will make decisions based on what the first spouse says.
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Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage
A joint simplified divorce is similar to an uncontested divorce in that you and the other party must agree on everything. There are less forms for the joint simplified divorce and the forms are easier to fill out. For this type of dissolution, there is usually only one court appearance required.
Requirements to Get a Joint Simplified Divorce
To get a joint simplified divorce, there are extra requirements that must be met.
- The marriage must not have been more than 8 years in length.
- Parties cannot have children together.
- One or both parties must meet the residency requirements.
- Parties must have lived six months apart or waive the need.
- Neither party can rely on the other for support.
- Both parties must waive any right to spousal support.
- Neither party can own any real estate.
- Parties must not share any retirement accounts.
- Any individual retirement accounts must have a combined value of under $10,000.
- All marital property minus all debts must be under $50,000.
- The gross income between the parties must be under $60,000 with neither party making more than $30,000 per year.
- Parties must have told each other about all assets, liabilities, and tax returns for every year in the marriage.
- Parties must have created a mutual agreement dividing all assets worth more than $100 and assigning all debts.
- There must be a written agreement allocating ownership of any companion animals.
If you meet each of these requirements, you are eligible for a joint simplified divorce and can begin the process.
Joint Simplified Divorce Process and Procedure
A joint simplified divorce is much simpler than a standard divorce. There are three key steps. First, you must file the necessary forms and have the final hearing scheduled. Then, you have to divide all the property and debts according to the agreement you submitted when filing.
Finally, at the final hearing, the judge will review all the documents and make sure things were split evenly enough. If everything is in order, the judge issues a final judgment of dissolution.
Are you ready to move forward? Call (312) 757-8082 to schedule a strategy session with one of our attorneys.
Can We Agree to Anything We Want?
If both parties agree on what they want to happen, they can do just about anything. However, there is a point at the end of the divorce where a judge has to approve any agreements. The judge will accept most things as long as it isn’t extremely one-sided.
Do Both Spouses Have to Agree to a Divorce for It to Happen?
For an uncontested divorce, both parties must agree. But if the parties don’t agree, then they can get a contested divorce. If parties cannot come to an agreement by the end of a contested divorce, the court will decide for them.
What Is the Difference Between a Contested and an Uncontested Divorce?
A contested divorce is one where parties disagree on one or more topics. An uncontested divorce is one where parties agree on all the divorce topics. There are also options in between, such as mediation. In mediation, parties agree on some things and are confident they can work the rest out with some help from a mediator.
Do I Need a Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce in Illinois?
You do not need a lawyer or attorney for any type of divorce in Illinois. However, having an attorney can be really helpful to make sure everything goes smoothly. It is most important to have full representation if you have a contested divorce.
You can also get help from an attorney where they only do things you need them to do, such as just reviewing your paperwork for you. If you need an attorney for something small or something big, call Sterling Hughes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does an uncontested divorce take in Illinois?
An uncontested divorce can take anywhere from a couple of months to six months or more. How long your divorce will take depends on how quickly you can figure everything out and how quickly the court can get you in their schedule.
Do I have to go to court for an uncontested divorce in Illinois?
You will have to go to court for your final hearing in an uncontested divorce. Getting an uncontested divorce will prevent you going to court as much as you would have to if it were a contested divorce though. In a contested divorce there are other times you have to go to court such as for temporary order hearing or pre-trial hearing.
How do I file for an uncontested divorce in Illinois?
To file an uncontested divorce, download the necessary paperwork on our divorce forms page, then file them with your county’s clerk of courts. You will need to fill out some of the documents with the other party as well.
How much does an uncontested divorce cost in Illinois?
An uncontested divorce starts at $2,750. The more complicated the divorce is, the more expensive it can get. A case is complicated based on things like the amount of property the spouses have and how many children are involved.
What is the cheapest way to get divorce in Illinois?
The cheapest way to get a divorce in Illinois is to not have an attorney. But, by not having an attorney, you may be losing out long-term on money or assets you may deserve. So, the best thing to do is sit and assess whether your soon-to-be-ex will give you what you want. And if they won’t then you may need an attorney. Another reason you may need an attorney is if you want help with all the paperwork.
How does adultery affect divorce in Illinois?
Adultery has very little impact on the outcome of a divorce in Illinois because Illinois is a no-fault divorce state. One thing that it can impact is property division if you can prove there has been marital waste.