As a skilled attorney, I generally advise against people trying to do their own divorces. While you might think it is simple, I receive many calls from people who want to undo things from their divorce. There is a simple way to get divorced in Cook County, but you must meet all of the criteria. This is not the same as a standard uncontested divorce.
What are the Criteria for a Joint Simplified Divorce?
To be eligible for a joint simplified divorce in Cook County you must meet the following criteria (note that this also applies to civil unions):
(a) The duration of the marriage/civil union does not exceed 8 years.
(b) Irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage/civil union and the parties
have been separated 6 months or more. Efforts at reconciliation have failed or future attempts at reconciliation
would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.
(c) No children were born of the relationship of the parties or adopted by the parties during the marriage/civil
union. Neither party is pregnant by the other party.
(d) Neither party is dependent on the other party for support or each party is willing to waive the right to
(e) Each party waives any right to spousal support.
(f) Neither party has any interest in real estate.
(g) The total fair market value of all marital/civil union property, after deducting all debts owed, is less than
(h) The total annual income of both parties is less than $35,000. Neither party has a gross annual income from all sources in excess of $20,000.
(i) Both parties have disclosed to each other all assets and their tax returns for all years of the marriage/civil union.
(j) The parties have executed a written Agreement dividing all assets in excess of $100 in value and
allocating responsibility for debts and liabilities between themselves. A copy of the Agreement, signed by
both parties, is filed with the petition.
If you do not meet these criteria and you live in Cook County, chances are you need an attorney to help you navigate through the divorce process.