How to Apply for a Fast Divorce in Illinois
By Tom Streissguth
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Illinois law allows for joint simplified divorce, which requires a minimum of time and paperwork. Although this is the fastest divorce procedure, there are some basic requirements: the grounds must be simply “irreconcilable differences”; the divorce must be uncontested; and you must meet the state’s residency requirements.
Meet the state's residency requirements. In order to obtain a joint simplified divorce, you or your spouse must be a resident of Illinois for at least 90 days before you open the case by filing a Joint Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. You must also live apart from your spouse for at least six months before filing the petition.
Obtain a blank Joint Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage form, which you can get directly from the clerk of court's offices or online. Complete the form and, if you want to assure it meets your needs, have an attorney review it. Both parties must sign the petition.
Fill out a Property Settlement Agreement. The official form, available from the clerk of court's offices or online, is a one-page statement; you list property that is to become the sole property of the husband or wife. The form also lists liabilities to be divided among you and your spouse. By law, you must agree to the division of all assets and debts with a value higher than $100. If there is any property or debt in dispute, you may not file a joint simplified divorce.
Complete an Affidavit in Support of Joint Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. This is simply a statement that the parties agree to the divorce and the terms of the property agreement.
Complete a Judgment of Dissolution form, which, like the other forms, is available from the clerk of court’s office or online. The Judgment requires some basic information about the marriage, which you fill out in advance. Both parties must sign. When the hearing judge also signs this form, your divorce will be legal and complete.
Make two copies of the petition and all attachments. File the papers in the office of the clerk of circuit court of the county in which you reside. You must file with your spouse and bring the filing fee in the form of cash or money order. The fee varies in each county; your clerk of court's office has current information on fees and filing procedures. If you cannot afford the fee, you can request a waiver with a Rule 298 Petition, also available from the clerk's office.
Attend a court hearing, which may take place the same day. Both parties must attend. The hearing judge will review the paperwork and then sign the Judgment of Dissolution; the court clerk will date-stamp the Judgment and return copies to both parties. You may also have the clerk certify the papers with a date, court seal and signature.
Items you will need
Joint Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage
Property Settlement Agreement
Affidavit in Support of Joint Petition
Judgment of Dissolution
Clerk's offices maintain websites from which you may be able to download the necessary forms. Search by county name and the term "clerk of court."
Arrive early at the clerk's office if you wish to attend a hearing the same day, or as soon as possible. Courtrooms become less accessible later in the day, and a joint simplified divorce is heard on a "first-come, first-served" basis.
Illinois sets down income and asset limits for a joint simplified divorce. Gross income of you and your spouse combined may not exceed $35,000; the individual limit is $20,000 in gross income for either party. The total market value of all marital property in a joint simplified divorce may not exceed $10,000.
A joint simplified divorce does not permit the payment of any alimony or child support. If support is an issue, you will have to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and attend a regularly scheduled court hearing.
Founder/president of the innovative reference publisher The Archive LLC, Tom Streissguth has been a self-employed business owner, independent bookseller and freelance author in the school/library market. Holding a bachelor's degree from Yale, Streissguth has published more than 100 works of history, biography, current affairs and geography for young readers.