Whether you are seeking to file for divorce or anticipate your spouse will file for divorce, JP Law Office can help you. We have been guiding clients through the Illinois legal system for decades, and we can streamline the divorce process while advocating for your parental rights. Attorney Jennifer Patton will work one-on-one with you to understand your legal situation and help you prepare for the next months of your divorce proceeding and negotiations.
THE FILING PROCESS
Each county will require additional forms to file depending on your situation, but in every divorce a spouse will be required to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage that commences the legal process and other subsequent forms notifying the other spouse (defendant) of the divorce. If the couple has minor children, they may also need to file a Joint Parenting Agreement, Visitation Form, and Uniform Order of Support (for child support cases). Note that the joint simplified divorce process utilizes different, simplified forms.
After filling out all the required paperwork, the petitioner should file the forms with the clerk of court. Afterwards, they should “serve” (deliver to) their spouse, notifying them of the divorce proceeding. From there, the couple can determine how they would like to move forward in negotiation, whether they are able to settle their divorce disputes in mediation, lay everything out in a settlement agreement, or go to trial if they cannot agree.
If you are looking to file for divorce or anticipate your spouse filing for divorce, contact our team at JP Law Office for legal guidance. We can help you gather all the appropriate information and relevant forms for your separation and help you prepare for negotiation and even litigation. We will be by your side every step of the legal process and do our best to protect your rights as a spouse and a parent in an emotionally tense time.
Requirements to File for Divorce
In Illinois, spouses can file for either fault-based divorce or no-fault divorce. Fault-based divorce requires the filing spouse to prove that the other spouse engaged in some form of marital misconduct that resulted in the divorce. Some examples of fault are adultery, impotence, alcohol abuse or drug addiction for 2 years, or incurring a felony conviction. No-fault divorce is a process that doesn’t require the filing spouse to cite a specific reason for the separation, and they merely need to state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
To file for divorce (dissolution of marriage) in Illinois, one of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least 90 days and lived separately from each other for at least 2 years. (Living separately does not have to mean living in different households, but merely that the couple did not act like a couple while residing in the same home). However, if both spouses establish in writing that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the couple only needs to have lived separately 6 months before filing for divorce.
Couples without minor children may file for “Joint Simplified Divorce,” which requires both spouses to meet the residency requirement and:
- have been married less than 8 years;
- have no minor children (biological or adopted) with each other;
- own no real estate;
- have a marital estate valued at less than $50,000;
- make less than $30,000 each per year or less than $60,000 combined;
- have less than $10,000 in retirement benefits;
- have resolved all issues in your case; and
- not be seeking support from the other.