Uncontested Divorce in Illinois
When spouses decide to end the marriage, they can do so in two ways: contested and uncontested divorce.
- A contested divorce occurs when the spouses cannot find a common solution to at least one of the issues related to their separation. It could be the grounds for divorce, division of joint property & retirement accounts, custody over minor children, Illinois child support, alimony (spousal support), and so on.
- In contrast, an uncontested divorce means that the spouses are willing to negotiate and settle all their disputes out of court. They must clearly outline their arrangements concerning finances, marital property, and parental responsibilities by drafting a marital Settlement Agreement. The terms of this contract become legally binding after the judge issues a final judgment of divorce.
An uncontested divorce is a more affordable and simple way to terminate the marriage than the litigation process. Even if the spouses have some disagreements, they can resolve them through divorce mediation and still seek an uncontested divorce.
Get Your Divorce Forms Completed Online
DivorceOnline.com provides top-notch tools to help their clients get Illinois uncontested divorce forms completed. Even if you aren't proficient in family law, for as little as $139, you will be able to select the right blank forms and fill them out correctly from the comfort of your home.
All you have to do is go through the quick questionnaire regarding your marriage and divorce. Next, the system will guide you through the step-by-step process of selecting and filling out required forms.
So can be sure that you have completed all the papers necessary for your case according to Illinois laws and did not miss anything. Along with the ready-to-sign papers, you will also get comprehensive filing instructions.
Our online divorce service is a straightforward and affordable alternative to attorneys in an uncontested divorce. We do not sell blank forms or provide legal advice; we help clients prepare required divorce documents in a timely manner.
Steps for Filing a Divorce in Illinois
An uncontested divorce process in Illinois takes several consecutive actions.
To begin a divorce case in Illinois, either spouse must have been a state resident for at least 90 days before filing.
Any divorce starts with filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This court form informs the court of the filing spouse's (called the plaintiff) intention to terminate the marriage and requires the ground for divorce to be stated.
Illinois is a no-fault divorce state. So, no one can file for divorce based on their spouse's marital misconduct. Illinois family law does not recognize such fault-based grounds for divorce as adultery, cruelty, drug addiction, desertion, and others.
The only valid ground is "Irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage."
If either spouse rejects that the marriage is broken, the court presumes the requirements for irreconcilable differences are met if the parties have lived separately and apart for at least six months before the entry of the divorce judgment.
To file for divorce, the plaintiff has to file the completed divorce forms with the Circuit Court in the county where either spouse resides.
Divorce papers in Illinois
Basic Illinois divorce forms required to file for an uncontested dissolution include:
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage/Civil Union (With Children/No Children)
- Entry of Appearance
- Waiver and Consent
- Marital Settlement Agreement
- The judgment of Dissolution of Marriage
The rest of the necessary court forms typically vary depending on the multiple circumstances of a particular divorce case. For example, the spouses need to complete additional documents if they contest the case, have minor children, want to get an order for child support, waive the court fees, and more.
When filing divorce documents, the plaintiff must pay a mandatory filing fee. This fee is about $300 in Illinois, but it varies from county to county. The exact amount is available at the Clerk of the Circuit Court government website.
This court fee is mandatory regardless divorce is contested or not. However, if the petitioner cannot afford to pay the court fee, they can request a waiver by completing the Application for Waiver of Court Fees.
There is no mandatory waiting period for an uncontested divorce in Illinois. The court will consider the divorce petition according to its workload.
When the case is filed, the plaintiff must serve the other spouse (the defendant or respondent) with copies of completed divorce papers.
- If the defendant did not sign an Entry of Appearance form, the papers can be served by a sheriff or a private process server. As an acknowledgment of service, all affidavits of service must be returned to the Clerk of the Circuit Court for filing.
- If the defendant agrees to the divorce and signs the Entry of Appearance, Waiver and Consent form, it will be an uncontested divorce. By filing this form, the defendant consents to the default divorce, so the plaintiff does not have to seek the sheriff's help.
Once the divorce papers are served in Illinois, the respondent has 30 days to file a Response with the Circuit Clerk. After a Response is filed, the court date can be set.
For uncontested divorces in Illinois, this final court hearing is called a "Prove Up."
At a prove-up hearing, the plaintiff (or both spouses) appears before the judge and requests a divorce based on the spouses' Marital Settlement Agreement. This hearing is typically short and formal.
The judge hears some brief testimony from the parties and reviews their Agreement and other required paperwork, after which they can issue a divorce decree.
Getting a Divorce With Children
In Illinois, all spouses with minor children who take part in uncontested or contested divorces are required to share custody over their children. Illinois courts will not make a decision on divorce until the type of child custody is determined, the main guardian is selected, and child support is calculated.
Illinois considers physical and legal child custody, as well as shared or sole. In any case, the court makes decisions based on the best interests of the child.
Among the factors in determining the child's best interests are:
- the child's preferences, given the fact the child is mature enough to express reasoned and independent wishes;
- the parents' wishes;
- the child's adjustment to their home, school, and community;
- the mental and physical health of all the parties;
- the spouses' willingness and ability to cooperate to make joint decisions;
- each parent's participation in decision-making concerning the child's life before the divorce;
- the distance between the parents' residences, which affects the ease of sharing physical custody;
- each parent's and the child's daily schedules;
- each parent's willingness to encourage contact between the other parent and the child;
- any history of domestic violence and abuse;
- and any other factor the court may deem essential.
According to Illinois law, to finalize a divorce process, both spouses are required to take a Parenting Class. In addition, the following forms are provided for divorcing spouses to file:
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce with Children)
- Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce with Children)
- Parenting Plan
- Certification of Agreement
As for child support, Illinois uses the Income Shares Child Support Guidelines, meaning that the amount of child support shall be calculated based on the combined net income of both parents. And then, each parent's share of the responsibility for paying child support is determined following their net incomes relative to one another. In Illinois, child support orders last until the child reaches age 18 or graduates from high school.
Filing for Divorce in Illinois Without a Lawyer
- The main advantage of an uncontested divorce is that it can be arranged with limited legal advice or even without an attorney at all.
- The Illinois divorce process does not oblige divorcing couples to hire a law firm to handle their case. Instead, they can resort to divorce mediation, which is strongly encouraged in Illinois, and agree to a mutual solution regarding child-related issues, marital property division, spousal support, etc., avoiding costly lawyer's service.
- With the help of Divorce Online, spouses can generate all the required divorce paperwork themselves and file with a local court independently, following our written instructions. It's fast, cheap, and affordable.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Illinois
- A DIY divorce is a process of representing yourself in a divorce case without an attorney, and it's totally legit. It can be a beneficial solution for an uncontested divorce or joint simplified divorce.
- In a DIY divorce, the spouses take responsibility for filling out Illinois divorce forms and completing the filing process. So, they should be well aware of their particular legal rights and obligations.
- Since divorce paperwork can be pretty tricky for people without the relevant experience, they still may need some help to handle some of the court's red tape. And this is exactly what DivorceOnline.com is designed for.
Frequently Asked Questions:
The Illinois divorce timeline mostly depends on whether the spouses contest the claim, whether service of process is needed, etc.
For example, there is no waiting period for an uncontested divorce. Still, there is a six-month waiting period for couples filing a contested divorce. And if the petitioner serves the defendant, the latter has another 30 days to respond.
The average amicable divorce takes from several weeks to two months, while contested divorce can take up to 30 months.
On average, the cost of divorce in Illinois is about $13,000. However, there are a lot of factors affecting the total amount, so it is almost impossible to predict.
The general principle is: the simpler the case and the fewer disputes between the parties, the cheaper their divorce can be.
The cost of any divorce starts with the court filing fees. Still, the other expenses, including legal fees, online divorce services fees, parenting classes costs, etc., may vary significantly.
If a person cannot afford court filing fees, they may file an Application for Waiver of Court Fees form, asking the court to file for divorce for free.
The court will consider the applicant's financial situation to decide if paying the fee would be a substantial hardship for this person.
Legal forms needed to be filed include but are not limited to Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Summons, Entry of Appearance, Waiver and Consent, Marital Settlement Agreement, and Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.
Forms may vary depending on the conditions of your case.