Last Updated on July 10, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team
You and your spouse no longer get along and you’re ready to file for a divorce. You live in the great state of Illinois and need to file a divorce. The following article gives an outline of key considerations for filing a divorce in the state of Illinois. This article is not exhaustive but a good starting point. It’s always recommended that you talk to an attorney and seek a consultation before filing a divorce or taking any legal steps.
This article is a good starting point for a discussion of things like the forms you’ll need to complete for filing a divorce, property considerations, will updates, residency requirements and whether or not you should hire an attorney, among other things. This article also discuss costs of a divorce. As you’ll read further in the article one of the biggest issues and considerations for what the cost of a divorce will be is whether the divorce is contested or uncontested.
Locate and complete the appropriate forms. Prepare for filing
Illinois courts have a fairly novel system with approve state wide forms relating to divorce, child support, and maintenance. The Illinois Supreme Court commission has approved a set of forms that are available through the Illinois legal aid online guided interview. (https://www.illinoiscourts.gov/forms/approved-forms/forms-circuit-court/divorce-child-support-maintenance) This is somewhat unique to Illinois as rather than hunting down forms from several locations they are all available in one place. Once you are on the website you can complete a guided tour that takes between 20 and 60 minutes to complete. You are eligible to use this program if you want to end your marriage, you or your spouse have lived in Illinois for at least 90 days, and you do not have another divorce case already pending in another state. If you have minor children with your spouse the children must have lived in Illinois for the past six months or more. There are also US military considerations.
What you will need first to complete the forms include things like the date and place of your marriage, the date of physical separation, the city county state and country where you were married, your current home address and the address for your spouse or place where they can be found, place of employment for you and your spouse are also required, whether you or your spouse currently receive Social Security, the names and dates of birth for all of the children you and your spouse have together or separately, and if there are any other cases that involve you or your spouse or the children you’ll need to include the case number and the county and state in which it was filed and whether or not it’s still active.
As you move along you’ll need to know all of your personal property including things like bank accounts that you and your spouse got since you’re married, real property, pension and retirement accounts, and any outstanding debts that you’ve had since you were married. This program will create separate forms depending on your answers. These include forms such as how to get a divorce with no children, how to get a divorce with children, petition for dissolution of marriage with no children, petition for dissolution of marriage with children, entry of appearance in the dissolution, non-marital real estate, summons petition for dissolution of marriage, parenting plan, judgment of dissolution of marriage with or without children, among other things.
If you have questions about any of these forms it’s recommended you consult with an attorney.
Take inventory of all marital and non-marital property
It’s always recommended to have a clear understanding of all the both marital and non-marital property before filing a divorce. If you have questions about gathering this information please talk to an attorney. Gathering information about personal property includes things like making a list of all marital bank accounts including account numbers and current balances, tracking down all retirement accounts, 401(k)s, pensions and similar items and understanding the current balance or value, taking stock of all vehicles and real property, and all family heirlooms or personal property such as furniture and tools. It’s recommended to make a list or have all these documents in one place before filing a divorce because after filing a divorce it can often be harder to track down this information as often times the parties are physically separated and don’t have access to files or computers, or they have to be requested from the other party through the discovery process which is time consuming and can be expensive. The better understanding you have of all of the property of the marriage the better chance you have to reach a successful outcome along with affair outcome in your divorce case.
Update beneficiaries and wills
In the state of Illinois the divorce does not automatically revoke a prior will naming your now ex spouse as the beneficiary to your will. What this means is that after your divorce is final you’ll need to make sure and update your will or revoke your will to ensure that your ex spouse doesn’t receive anything under the well if you don’t want them to.
When you are updating your will, make sure you are also updating the payable on death, or designated beneficiaries for things like bank accounts, life insurance policies, retirement accounts and other similar instruments.
Determine if you and your spouse qualify for divorce
You are eligible for a divorce in Illinois if you want to end your marriage or civil union and you or your spouse have lived in Illinois for at least 90 days, and you do not have another divorce case already pending in another state. If you have minor children with your spouse the children must have lived in Illinois for the past six months or more. There are also active US military considerations.
File your documents
The necessary forms to be filed with the court will depend on the county in which you live. If you fail to file all of the necessary forms your case will not move forward. Generally there are two ways to file the divorce forms or paperwork those are going to the circuit court for the county in which you live Or filing through the online system which is referred to as odyssey. There are several guides for how to file a case using the odyssey file and serve system available online.
Consider hiring an experienced lawyer
You should consider hiring an attorney as soon as you start seriously considering for a divorce. An experienced attorney is generally a person who practices primarily in family law and has at least 5 to 7 years of experience. It’s not to say somebody with less experience is not able to complete the divorce for you but if your issues are complicated or require protracted litigation you will want an experienced attorney who has been in front of the judge will be deciding your case previously. This means hiring an attorney familiar with your county’s court system and judges. An experienced attorney means that they are well-versed in the various complex issues that your particular family law case will present and will guide you through the process in a step-by-step fashion so that you feel not necessarily that you’re totally satisfied with the outcome that you understand the outcome.
Residency requirements for divorce in Illinois
You are eligible and able to file for a divorce in Illinois if you or your spouse have lived in Illinois for at least 90 days or more, and you do not have another divorce case already pending in another state or country. If you have minor children with your spouse the children must have lived in Illinois for the past six months or more.
Illinois is a no fault divorce state
The state of Illinois updated the law in 2016 removing grounds for divorce. That means that Illinois is a no fault divorce state meaning that the only reason necessary for filing a divorce needs to be a irreconcilable differences. Generally the court will not consider conflict in the divorce such as infidelity when dividing property or awarding spousal maintenance. The court will consider a parents actions pursuant to a parenting time plan if one of the parents has been physically cruel and may place certain restrictions on the parent such as supervised parenting time or parenting classes.
This article has answered frequently asked questions such as where to find the necessary forms, take an inventory of marital property, wills and beneficiary designations, qualifications for divorce, filing divorce documents, whether or not to hire an attorney, residency requirements for filing, no-fault divorce, divorce cost, divorce duration, fastest way to get a divorce, and filing a divorce yourself.
Do you need a divorce lawyer in Illinois?
It depends. The answer to this question will depend largely on whether the case is contested or uncontested. A contested divorce means that the major issues in a divorce case such as property division, debt allocation, spousal support, and custody are not in agreement between the parties. This means that the parties for instance disagree that the children should spend more time with one parent than another. It might also mean that one spouse disagrees that the other spouse should have maintenance spousal support. When dealing with these complex issues an attorney can help guide the filing spouse through the process of whether or not to hire experts in their case. Experts might be used for things like hiring a vocational expert, hiring a custody evaluator, hiring an actuary for pension accounts, hiring a professional appraiser for real property valuation and other similar things.
How much does divorce cost in Illinois?
The fee to file a case in Illinois varies from county to county. https://www.illinoiscourts.gov/courts/circuit-court/circuit-court-clerks/
That’s the first cost that you have involved with filing a divorce case if you haven’t hired an attorney. You will also have to pay a cost for notifying the other spouse which is also referred to as serving the divorce papers. This is usually accomplish through hiring a sheriffs deputy or hiring a professional service to serve the other spouse. These are also referred to as the hard cost of divorce. If you’re responding to a divorce that’s already been filed you will have to pay a fee for an appearance and an answer. There may be additional fees during the divorce case such as the judge requires mediation for the spouses. For spouses with children under the age of 18 there is a required parenting class. There may be additional motions that the spouses file with the court that could also cost money. If you cannot pay these fees based on limited income you can potentially file papers for free with the court. The cost of the divorce will depend on whether or not you have to hire an attorney and experts which will drive up the cost in a prolonged divorce.
How long does it take for a divorce in Illinois?
The duration or factors that actually impact how long your divorce takes depend almost exclusively on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested a simple uncontested divorce can take two months or less depending on the issues.
What is the fastest way to get a divorce in Illinois?
The fastest way to complete a divorce in Illinois is through an uncontested divorce where you and your spouse agree on all of the issues and you’ve served the other party with a summons and the 30 day wait. Between the receipt of summons and petition and court date have been waived.
Can I file for divorce myself in Illinois?
Yes. Although this is generally only advisable where it is an uncontested divorce with relatively simple issues. The more complex a case or the more contested the issues become the more likely it is required or necessary or highly recommended that you hire an attorney to help you out with your case.
How do I file for divorce in Illinois if my spouse doesn’t want a divorce?
If your spouse does not want to participate in the divorce process you might be able to obtain a divorce through what’s called a publication notice. The court will require that you serve the other spouse through a publication notice which is typically done through local newspaper. The court will also require that you make a good faith effort to locate the other spouse through what’s called due diligence. Once the court is satisfied that you have made a good faith effort to locate your spouse they will then grant you a divorce.
How do I file for divorce in Illinois if my spouse lives in another state?
If your spouse lives in another state it might be more difficult to obtain a divorce. You will have to ensure that the other state has personal jurisdiction over your spouse before the court can grant you a divorce. This is typically accomplished by having your spouse served with divorce papers while they’re in the state or proving that they have significant contacts with the state such as owning property or having a job in the state. Once personal jurisdiction has been established over your spouse the court can then grant you a divorce.
How do I file for divorce in Illinois if my spouse is in the military?
If your spouse is in the military it might be more difficult to obtain a divorce. You will have to ensure that the other state has personal jurisdiction over your spouse before the court can grant you a divorce. This is typically accomplished by having your spouse served with divorce papers while they’re in the state or proving that they have significant contacts with the state such as owning property or having a job in the state. Once personal jurisdiction has been established over your spouse the court can then grant you a divorce.