Divorce Laws In Illinois: A Beginners Guide
A marriage can end through an annulment or a divorce in Illinois. By law, legal separations are also allowed. Technically, a divorce is known as a dissolution of marriage in the state, but the terms are used interchangeably all the time.
As of January 2016, irreconcilable differences is only reason that can be cited for divorce in the state. Prior to this, the state allowed for fault-based divorces that included adultery, abuse and other similar reasons. The no-fault grounds must show that the irreconcilable differences have caused an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and that attempts at reconciliation have failed.
Because Illinois is an equitable distribution state, courts will attempt to distribute assets in a divorce in a fair and equitable way, but not necessarily with a 50-50 split. There are several factors governing the division of assets that can impact the final outcome in many possible ways.
Here are some of the important legal questions and major issues that are common to most dissolutions of marriage in the state:
Spousal Maintenance In Illinois
Illinois no longer uses the term alimony. Though still commonly used to refer to the concept of one spouse paying another after the end of a marriage, alimony is often associated with notions of marriage that have been largely left in the past.
Spousal maintenance in Illinois follows a formula based on the combined income of the divorcing couple. The basic formula is = spousal maintenance.
This may be adjusted depending on any child support obligations, and there is a rule that the recipient cannot receive maintenance if it would cause them to earn more than 40% of the combined income.
This maintenance is paid for a period of time based on the length of the marriage. The number of years is multiplied by a percentage, and that percentage increases as the length of marriage goes up.
So, for example, a marriage of less than five years results in support for 20% of the marriage, while a marriage of nine years results in support for 40% of the marriage or over three and a half years. Marriages that last 20 years or more will result in either maintenance for the same length as the marriage or permanent maintenance.
Downsides Of Diy Divorce
The DIY Divorce method is not for everyone. Its great for people who dont want to spend as much money, but it’s not best for people in difficult situations. For example, if you think the divorce is going to be contentious with lots of disputes, DIY is not a great option for you.
Its better for people who dont have kids or who dont have a lot of assets. But, if you have those things, this may still work for you. You would need to be confident that you and your soon-to-be-ex can work together to make an agreement.
DIY is also not great for people who are going to have difficulty doing things on their own. The attorney is doing far less than they would if they were hired for full representation. DIY is a great method for people who are confident they can do a lot of it on their own. If you think youd appreciate the full amount of help an attorney can give, full representation is the better method.
Ready to start your DIY Divorce journey? Take the first step and in the package!
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Locate And Complete The Appropriate Forms Prepare For Filing
Illinois Legal Aid provides an interactive program that can help you prepare custom forms for your situation. The necessary forms can vary depending on particular circumstances, but at a minimum, youâll need a summons and petition. Use the Legal Aid website to answer a few questions about your life and print your documents.
Once youâve completed your forms, youâll need to sign them. Some forms require a signature in front of a notary. Most courthouses have a notary on staff to notarize documents for you if you do not have access to a notary. Many banks also provide free notary services to account holders. Make four copies of every document.
How To Get A Divorce Without A Lawyer In Illinois
Our DIY divorce method is a great way to get a divorce in Illinois without an attorney. With our Do-It-Yourself Divorce, you do most of the divorce on your own, but you get help from an attorney at key stages. For example, the attorney helps you draft the initial paperwork needed to file for divorce.
Many people dont want to hire an attorney for their divorce or separation. This could be for several reasons, whether it is feeling like you can do it on your own, not wanting to pay for full representation, or even just a distrust of lawyers.
Thats why we offer options like DIY Divorce. With this method, you get to meet with an attorney a few times and they help you draft the paperwork. Youll meet with your attorney at the beginning, and they lay everything out for you. Youll know exactly how much it will cost, exactly what theyll give you, and it will all be in writing. And, if you want some proof of our attorneys effectiveness, check out their reviews page.
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Filing For Divorce In Illinois
According to Illinois law, there are only two prerequisites for filing for divorce. First, one or both spouses must have resided or been stationed for military service in Illinois for the past 90 days. Second, the marriage must have undergone an “irretrievable breakdown” due to irreconcilable differences. It is not necessary to demonstrate marital misconduct, such as infidelity or abandonment, on the part of your spouse, and there is no requirement that you are living apart or legally separated at the time of filing for divorce, though if you have been living apart for at least six months, the court will consider this to be sufficient evidence of irreconcilable differences.
Filing for divorce is the first official step in the legal process of ending a marriage, but you can take several important steps to prepare ahead of time. This includes consulting with an attorney and gathering all of your financial documents to help you protect your interests. If you and your spouse want to pursue an uncontested divorce, you can also work together to reach an agreement regarding property division, spousal maintenance, parental responsibilities, and child support before filing. You can then submit your agreement along with your petition for divorce, potentially allowing you to complete the divorce process much more efficiently.
Contested Vs Uncontested Divorce
Contested divorces occur when one or both spouses have unresolved issues that will require a third party to settle. Typically, these issues include allocation of parenting time, child and spousal support, and the division of property. If an agreement cannot be reached between the two parties, the case will proceed to trial to be heard in front of a judge.
In an effort to simplify the divorce process, Illinois lawmakers have changed the stateâs guidelines regarding fault. They have adopted a no-fault approach and eliminated the need for spouses to provide at-fault grounds for divorce. Moving forward, the only ground applicable for ending a marriage is irreconcilable differences, which refers to the irreparable breakdown of a marriage. If the parties live separate and apart for a continuous period of no less than six months immediately preceding the entry of the Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage, there is an irrebuttable presumption that the requirement of irreconcilable differences has been met.
Uncontested divorces are a much quicker and less expensive way to end a marriage. They require both spouses to come to an agreement on all relevant issues. A judgment and other necessary documents must be drawn up so they can be officially filed with the court.
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Contact An Illinois Divorce Lawyer
In order to better understand how the divorce process will apply to your case, we encourage you to contact us at 312-884-1222 to schedule a free consultation. We represent clients throughout the divorce process in Cook County, Chicago, and the surrounding areas, including Mount Prospect, Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Arlington Heights, Inverness, Schaumburg, and the North Shore.
Five Steps To Help You Prepare For An Illinois Divorce
Divorce can be a long process that requires extensive paperwork, planning, and processing. Many people are surprised by how much documentation they have to gather once the divorce process begins, as well as by how much of their own information they do not know. If you are hoping for a swift divorce, one of the smartest things you can do is begin preparing now. For answers to your questions about how to get started, contact an Illinois divorce attorney right away.
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Can I Get An Annulment In Illinois
Yes, in certain circumstances. In Illinois, an annulment is called a declaration of invalidity of marriage. It is a court order declaring that a marriage is not valid, and therefore should not be recognized by the state. An annulment is different from a divorce because a divorce is an order ending a valid marriage.
In Illinois, a marriage can be annulled if:
- One of the parties to the marriage lacked capacity to consent to the marriage because she or he suffered a mental disability, was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or entered into the marriage by force, duress or fraud
- One of the parties is not capable of sexual intercourse and the other party did not know of the incapacity at the time of the marriage
- One of the parties is less than 18 years old and did not have the consent of his or her parents or guardian, or judicial approval or
- The marriage was prohibited by law.
Divorce Process Without An Attorney
A divorce can be done completely without an attorney. However, there are key benefits to having an attorney.
If you didnt hire an attorney at all, youd need to file the paperwork, serve your spouse, figure out all the court hearings, mediation sessions, agreement creation, and everything else all on your own. It is possible, but the legal system is not really set up for people to succeed without an attorney in many cases.
Attorneys, especially those that only practice family law, know the divorce process inside and out. With DIY, you get help from an attorney to set you up for success.
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Tip : Take Stock Of Your Assets
Part of a divorce is about dividing assets similar to the division of debt. And just like debt, sometimes there are assets about which one spouse does not have much knowledge. Preparing for a divorce can involve gathering information on assets.
Here are some examples of assets about which you might gather information:
If There Are Children Involved Child Custody Support And Parenting Time Will
As of january 2016, irreconcilable differences is only reason that can be cited for divorce in the state. Illinois courts have a fairly novel system with approve state wide forms relating to divorce, child support, and maintenance. Every divorce in illinois starts with the filing of certain paperwork in the appropriate court.
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How To File An Uncontested Divorce In Illinois
When you and your spouse have agreed on the issues in your divorce, the next step in getting an uncontested divorce in Illinois is to file the required paperwork. Check with the clerk of the court to confirm what’s required, but in most courts you’ll need to file a:
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage/Civil Union
- Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage/Civil Union
- Summons , and an
- Entry of Appearance .
These are the basic forms to get started with an Illinois divorce depending on your situation you might have to file different or additional forms. Read the forms and their instructions for detailed guidance.
Illinois Joint Simplified Dissolution
Spouses who agree on the terms of their divorce and who meet certain requirements can file for an expedited form of dissolution called “joint simplified dissolution.” To qualify for a joint simplified dissolution, the following must be true:
Illinois is one of the few states that that treat pets somewhat differently than other types of property in divorce. Under Illinois law, if a couple’s pet is , the judge must allocate sole or joint ownership of and responsibility for the pet as part of the divorce. When making this decision, the judge must consider the well-being of the animal. .)
Start To Think About What Type Of Divorce You Want
Many divorce lawyers will offer multiple ways that you can complete your divorce process, including an uncontested divorce or a litigated divorce. You should think about the approach that would work best for you and your family. At Goostree Law Group, we offer a variety of unique solutions to any issues you may encounter during your divorce.
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How Much Will An Illinois Divorce Cost
The cost of your divorce will depend on the nature and complexity of your case. Costs include legal fees, court costs, costs of document production, and depositions. As the issues that develop during a case will affect what is required to successfully litigate your case, it is impossible to predict exactly how much it will cost at the start of your case.
Simple uncontested cases will be less expensive, while more complex, adversarial cases will cost more. The less that is in dispute, the less you will spend in attorneys fees and costs. On the other hand, if there is a strongly contested issue, you may incur additional costs and fees associated with property valuations, custody evaluations or appointment of a Guardian ad Litem for the children.
Check Your Credit Score
An important part of life after divorce is financial planning on just one income. Your ability to take out loans, pay back debt, and get the things you need may change once you and your spouse cannot make purchases together. You need to know your credit score, as well as how much you owe to various lenders, so you can plan for the future.
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Military Divorces In Illinois
If you or your spouse are a member of the U.S. armed forces and you are seeking a divorce in Illinois, your or your spouse must live in Illinois or be stationed in Illinois.
Just as in a civilian divorce, once paperwork has been filed in Illinois to begin a divorce, copies must be served on a spouse to give him or her a chance to respond. However, when that spouse is in the military, they have certain protections afforded to them by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. This allows them to postpone the divorce while they are overseas or otherwise not able to adequately respond to the petition due to military service commitments.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act eases many legal and financial burdens of military personnel and their families who face the added challenges of active duty. A service member may choose to waive delaying the divorce by signing off on paperwork which will then allow the divorce to proceed uncontested.
Normal property division laws apply for a military divorce in Illinois, but the federal government also protects military personnel through the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act that governs how military benefits are calculated when a divorce takes place. Federal laws will not allow a military members retirement to be distributed to a spouse unless the couple has been married for 10 years or more while the service member was on active duty.
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S To Preparing For An Illinois Divorce
Getting a is a challenging time in many adults lives. Not only are there things to settle financially and assets to divide, divorce brings much emotional confusion into the picture. Once you have decided that a divorce is your best option, you should become prepared for the long and winding journey that is the divorce process. These 8 things can help you get a head start on your divorce even before the legal process gets started:
1. Determine the Type of Divorce You Want
Often, people think that a divorce is a divorce. In reality, there are many different types of divorce. In Illinois, the types of divorce recognized are:
- Uncontested divorce
- Collaborative divorce and
- Joint simplified dissolution.
Each type of divorce has its advantages and disadvantages, and some divorces may not be available to you depending on your circumstances, so it is important to do your research before settling on a divorce process.
2. Gather Your Documents
A divorce requires a lot of paperwork, so you should begin gathering the necessary information as soon as you decide on the type of divorce that you want. Documents that you should gather include:
- Other financial documents.
Ensuring that you have all the documents you need can help your divorce process move a little more quickly.
3. Make a List of Assets
4. Make a List of Expenses
- Other expenses incurred during the marriage.
5. Gather Income Information
6. Check Your Credit History
7. Start Saving Money
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