Illinois Divorce Papers: What You Need to Know

In the event you find yourself wanting to file for a divorce in the state of Illinois, there are a few steps you need to take to dissolve your marriage. While you can hire an attorney to help you with the process, many times you can simply do it yourself by filling out the proper forms and submitting them with your spouse. Here’s what you need to know about divorce papers in Illinois to get started.

Fault and No Fault

A dissolution of marriage in Illinois is either in the “fault” category or “no fault” category. If the divorce qualifies as “no fault,” this means that both spouses have agreed to the divorce based on problems in their marriage that boil down to irreconcilable differences. A no fault divorce requires both parties to have lived in Illinois for at least 90 days and to have been separated for a certain amount of time.

Someone can file for divorce based on “fault” if his or her spouse has at least one of these faults: drug or alcohol addiction, impotence, transference of an STD, felony conviction, extreme cruelty, attempted murder, bigamy, adultery, and abandonment. It is important to note that a no fault divorce has different papers than a fault divorce.

Contested and Uncontested

An uncontested divorce is when a couple is in agreement about their terms of separation. This could include child care and division of property. An uncontested divorce simply needs to be approved by a judge to be made legal. A contested divorce, on the other hand, is one where the couple is not in agreement about their terms of separation. Disagreements over child care, child support, spousal support/maintenance, and divisions of assets mean a mediator will most likely need to get involved. Contested divorces are the most difficult to obtain without an attorney.

Locate, Fill Out, and File Proper Forms

Once you and your spouse determine the type of divorce you will be filing, it’s time to locate and fill out the proper paperwork. Different forms exist in each county of Illinois, so be sure to find the forms appropriate to your location. No matter which county you live in, you will need a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. One party files the petition and the other responds.

After the petition has been served, you and your spouse can either settle the terms of your divorce to have them approved by a judge or you can wait for the divorce to go to trial. If you settle before the divorce goes to trial, you and your spouse will have to answer questions at a hearing to prove that you are in agreement. If the divorce goes to trial, any questions regarding the terms of the divorce will be decided by the judge.