An Illinois divorce can range from very simple to very complicated, based on whether or not children are involved and the amount and type of assets the couple has.
For example, a Joint Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage may be filed when:
- There are no children between the husband and wife
- The marriage lasted less than eight years
- The value of the marital property is under $10,000
- There is no real estate owned
- Neither party earns more than $20,000 in gross income or together they earn under $35,000
- There is no claim for maintenance (alimony)
- The couple has been separated for at least six months
If the couple meets all of these requirements, they can appear before the judge who will consider the petition “expeditiously.”
If this is not the case, a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage must be filed and served on the other party. If the divorce is not simple and issue free, it is recommended to consult a lawyer.
Many legal grounds for divorce in Illinois still exist like mental cruelty, physical cruelty, and desertion. Most divorces, however, involve a no-fault ground for divorce, in which the couple files “irreconcilable differences.” That means that the marriage is broken and efforts at a resolution are unlikely. To file irreconcilable differences, law requires that the couple must be separated for two years, however, they may agree to waive that time period if they have been separated for at least six months.
To promote peaceful divorces in Illinois, the parties can enter into a marital settlement agreement regarding the nature of their property, their debts and maintenance. The terms of the marital settlement agreement are binding on the court, unless the judge finds that the agreement is unfair, after consideration of all economic circumstances of the parties.
Couples divorcing that have minor children may also enter into an agreement regarding custody of the children and a schedule for the non-custodial parent’s visitation. The parties most often agree that it is in the best interest of the children for one parent to have sole custody or for both parents to share custody evenly. Sole custody is when one parent handles most or all of the decision making responsibilities and the children lives with that parent. In joint custody, however, means that major decisions such as schooling, medical care, and religion are discussed and decided upon by both parents.
If the parties are not able to work out an agreement on child custody or division of property, debts, and maintenance, the judge will conduct trials to decide the issues. Jury trials are not permitted.
If you are going through a separation or divorce, contact an Illinois divorce attorney for assistance. Located in Oakbrook and Naperville, Kathryn L. Harry & Associates can help you through your divorce today.