If you want the most affordable and fastest type of divorce in Illinois, then an uncontested divorce is likely your best bet. I handle a lot of complex divorces involving significant assets, but not everyone needs a complex divorce. Check out some of these resources.Continue reading “Uncontested divorce in Illinois”
Sometimes people have been separated for many years and have never gotten divorced. They may figure that they have no children, they own no real property, they have no marital property, or they never plan to remarry, so what’s the big deal? If you have been separated for many years, in the eyes of the court you might as well still be living together because your rights and responsibilities are still the same. Anything that you have purchased is marital property, even if purchased in your own name. Your spouse is still entitled to a portion of your pension benefits, and if you die without a will, your spouse will still be able to get a spouse’s share of the intestate estate. The only way to separate your finances from a spouse is through a legal separation, which is a court proceeding, or a divorce. Continue reading “Divorcing a Missing Spouse”
First we will start with what’s not an uncontested divorce. If you don’t know how to contact your spouse, you cannot get an uncontested divorce. You will be able to get a divorce by default, but even still, that it not as easy as it sounds. I will address a divorce by default in another article.
An uncontested divorce is one where the parties have agreed on how they will divide their assets and liability, who the children will live with, who will make decisions for the children, and how much support and/or maintenance will be paid.
What Are the Advantages of an Uncontested Divorce?
The main advantages to an uncontested divorce are:
- Cost – It’s usual done for a flat fee. You know up front how much the entire divorce of going be. If you are looking for a cheap divorce, it’s your best option.
- Control – You determine the outcome. When people fight, usually no one is happy with the outcome.
- Efficiency – You can be divorced much faster if it’s by agreement…usually within 30 days from the date of filing.
Assets and Liabilities
Under Illinois law, everything that is purchased after the date of marriage, and every debt that is accrued after the date of marriage, is marital in nature. People are frequently surprised to learn that even though they purchased cars, property, and accrued credit card debt in their separate names, in the eyes of the law, these are marital assets or liability. The only way to make property non-marital after the date of the marriage is to draft a post-nuptial agreement. Of course, the agreement must comport with Illinois law. Attempting to such a document on your own, or via something you found on the internet, could leave you in a much worse position.
On the other hand, if you owned property prior to the marriage, that property may be non-marital in nature. I use the caveat that it may be non-marital because non-marital property can become marital property depending on how it’s handled during the marriage.
Other assets include retirement benefits. Since all income earned during the marriage is marital money, it follows that all retirement benefits accrued during the marriage are a marital assets. In the context of an uncontested divorce, you must decide how these benefits will be divided. You should also keep in mind that a separate order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or QDRO is needed to divest the benefits from the retirement plan. This would not be included in the cost for an uncontested divorce.
In the context of an uncontested divorce, the parties should have discussed all these issues and reached a resolution as to what party will be taking what assets and what party will be taking what liabilities. They should also make note of any property that they consider to be non-marital in nature.
Allocation of Parental Responsibility
Illinois no longer has custody. As of January of 2016, the new statutory framework is allocation of parental responsibility. The four areas are healthcare, education, religion and extracurricular activity. Both parents can be responsible for making decisions in all four areas, or there can be some combination of the above.
The parents also have to decide on parenting time for the children and which address will be the primary address. The purpose of the primary address is mainly for registering the children for school. It does not give one parent any superior rights over the other parent. The rights are governed by the terms of the allocation agreement.
If you think that you might be a candidate for an uncontested divorce, please give me a call. My office is conveniently located in Skokie, and I can be reached at (708) 466-6912. I handle uncontested cases in Cook, Lake, Dupage and Kane counties.
What is an uncontested divorce in Illinois?
An uncontested divorce is one where the parties have already agreed to all of the important terms of their divorce before the case is filed.
What are the important terms?
A party must have divided up all of their assets and debts, and agreed to custody, child support and visitation. Continue reading “Uncontested Divorce in Illinois”
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.
Same sex marriage was signed into law in Illinois on November 20, 2013 by Governor Pat Quinn. It takes effect on June 1, 2014, which means that same sex divorce also takes effect on that same day. What does this mean for same sex couples who were married in other jurisdictions? Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions. Continue reading “Same Sex Divorce in Illinois”