There are two types of divorces in Illinois: contested and uncontested divorce. A divorce is considered “contested “when both parties cannot come to an agreement on at least one issue such as property division, child support or child custody.
Qualifications for an uncontested divorce
Illinois allows couples to file for an uncontested divorce in three situations:
- If the spouses have reached a divorce agreement outside the court system, they can file this agreement for court approval along with a petition for an uncontested divorce.
- If one spouse files for divorce and the other spouse does not file a response before the established deadline, the filer can proceed with an uncontested divorce (default divorce).
- A couple can ask for a joint simplified divorce when they agree on the major issues and have no children. Their marital assets must have a value of less than $10,000 and the household income must be less than $35,000 to qualify. The spouses must live separately for six months before pursuing this route and the marriage cannot be longer than eight years.
Requirements for a contested divorce
If the above requirements are not met, the couple can pursue mediation to try to reach an agreement or file for a contested divorce. This process, which can take up to 18 months, requires the family court to review the evidence presented by each party. The judge, in the event the parties are unable to agree, will then create a divorce agreement that legally binds the couple and ends the marriage.
Spouses can save time and money by asking for an uncontested divorce, but this simplified process is not appropriate for all families. Review the Illinois laws regarding contested and uncontested divorce before filing.