Blog posts tagged in simplified divorce
When you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you may start receiving a great deal of unsolicited advice from friends and family members about how you should proceed. Some may be telling you to hire an aggressive lawyer and get everything you can from your spouse during the proceedings. Others could be suggesting that you should just sit back and see what your spouse is going to do before you make any decisions. Such advice is also available from countless websites and online resources, creating a virtual cacophony of conflicting information for you at a difficult time. Amidst the confusion, there is one divorce option that is often overlooked but that may provide an avenue for finalizing the process quickly and efficiently. It is called an uncontested divorce and, if you and your spouse can work together despite your differences, it may be ideal for your situation.
Uncontested Divorce Defined
An uncontested divorce is a divorce in which the spouses can reach a negotiated agreement without requiring an extensive process of discovery and numerous court appearances. While a large percentage of divorce cases are eventually resolved with a brokered agreement rather than a court-issued judgment, many are still contentious and difficult along the way. An uncontested divorce is different in that it starts with a basic agreement between the spouses on the major issues. Then, the smaller details are worked out and the final settlement is presented to the court for approval, all without the need for multiple filings, motions, and hearings.
Each state has its own divorce procedures. The state legislature generally determines the rules governing divorces, but each county may have different procedural rules as well. Following these rules is important because it may avoid emotional conflicts that make divorces so difficult.
Illinois has specific divorce rules that guide parties and their attorneys through the divorce process. The goal of the Illinois legislature in Illinois divorces is generally to facilitate the process while ensuring an equitable outcome. Thus, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act also provides for simplified divorce procedures under certain circumstances. The goal of simplified procedures is to avoid costly and lengthy divorce proceedings that take a heavy emotional toll on the parties. Before one may rely on the simplified divorce process, they must meet the following conditions listed in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act:
- Neither party is dependent on the other party for support or each party is willing to waive the right to support;
- Parties have been Illinois residents for at least 90 days;
- Irreconcilable differences have caused them to be separated for six months;
- No children were born or adopted during the marriage, and the wife is not pregnant;
- The duration of the marriage does not exceed eight years;
- Neither party has any interest in real property and they waive maintenance;
- The total fair market value of all marital property is less than $10,000, the combined gross annualized income from all sources is less than $35,000, and neither party has a gross annualized income from all sources in excess of $20,000.;
- The parties have disclosed to each other all assets and their tax returns for all years of the marriage; and
- The parties have executed a written agreement dividing all assets in excess of $100 in value and allocating responsibility for debts and liabilities between the parties.
The rules for simplified divorce procedures are technical and failure to follow them may cause couples to incur unnecessary costs. By consulting an experienced Illinois family law attorney, divorcing parties can make sure they do it right the first time.