While there is no clear indicator as to how complex or lengthy your divorce proceedings will be, there are certain factors that typically play into the simplicity or complexity of your divorce. According to a recent article in the Madison-St. Clair Record, these factors include whether the couple has children, as well as the amount and type of assets that they own.
For instance, parties can file for a joint simplified dissolution of marriage under Illinois law if they meet certain criteria. In order to qualify for these expedited proceedings, the couple must have no children together, own no real estate, been married for eight years or less, have a combined income of under $35,000 per year, and have been separated for at least six months. Additionally, neither party can make a claim for maintenance, or what was formerly referred to as alimony, and the value of all marital property cannot be more than $10,000.
If you don’t meet these strict criteria, however, the simplified divorce process is not available to you. In those cases, you must file a regular petition for dissolution of marriage with the court and have it served to the other party. Dissolution of marriage in Illinois can be based a number of legal grounds or reasons for the divorce, such as mental cruelty or desertion, as well as the “no-fault” reason, which is typically referred to as irreconcilable differences. A no-fault divorce requires that the parties be separated for two years before the dissolution is finalized, but the parties can agree to waive that waiting period, so long as they have been separated for at least six months.
Once the divorce is filed, the parties can work together to reach an agreement about major issues such as child custody, visitation, and child support, as well as division of property and debts. If the parties are unable to agree on how these important issues should be resolved, the judge will make a decision for the parties after hearing evidence at a trial. Decisions about children will be based on the best interest of the children; property and debts will be divided in an equitable manner, regardless as to whether one spouse engaged in marital misconduct.
As divorces easily can become complex, and only very specific circumstances qualify a couple for Illinois’s simplified divorce procedures, it is highly recommended that you consult your Kane County divorce lawyer, preferably before the divorce has even begun. With the advice of experienced divorce counsel, you can place yourself in a better position to obtain your objectives for your divorce.