How Divorce Works In Illinois
The Illinois divorce process begins with one spouse filing an initial form called the divorce petition. Illinois divorce law no longer recognizes fault divorce, so Illinois residents do not have the opportunity to prove wrongdoing on the part of one spouse in court. Instead, divorcing spouses will indicate in their divorce petition that they qualify for a no-fault divorce. In a no-fault divorce, both parties agree that they would like to end their marriage, which makes for a much simpler and less costly dissolution of marriage.
Illinois couples do have the choice between a contested divorce and an uncontested divorce. In a contested divorce, the parties do not begin their divorce proceedings with a divorce settlement in mind, and each spouse will usually have to hire an Illinois divorce lawyer in order to determine issues like child support, child custody, spousal support, and the division of marital property. If you do not wish to hire an attorney, then divorce mediation is also an option, and if you want your own representation but are open to a more amicable process, then collaborative divorce might be right for you. Sometimes, however, the parties will end up in court, where a judge will decide how these issues should be resolved. In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree on the substantive issues that go into a marital settlement agreement.
The uncontested divorce process is pretty straightforward, so it is usually not necessary for either spouse to hire a divorce attorney for an uncontested divorce in Illinois. However, some people can afford the expense and feel more comfortable working with a lawyer. The role of an uncontested divorce lawyer is mostly to educate their client about Illinois family law and guide them through the dissolution process. An experienced attorney is surely an excellent resource, but it is also possible to educate yourself in other ways.
In the least complicated cases of uncontested divorce in Illinois, couples may be eligible for what’s known as a joint simplified divorce. A joint simplified divorce allows the parties to end their marriage in much less time, with far fewer divorce papers to fill out. If a couple is not eligible for a simplified divorce, online divorce is also an easy option for uncontested divorce in Illinois. The services offered by an online divorce platform are limited compared to what you might find at a law firm, but they will fill out all of your divorce forms for you at a low, flat-rate cost, and depending on the county you live in, you may never have to appear in court.
It is important to note that the divorce paperwork is identical for the dissolution of civil unions, which the state of Illinois still offers. Civil union has become considerably less common since the legalization of same-sex marriage, but many more that were performed prior to the change in law are still in effect today.