Knowing What Qualifies As An Uncontested Divorce
In Illinois, the term uncontested divorce means that you and your spouse agree on major issues. You must agree on how to divide your property, how much spousal maintenance (if any) one party will pay, what the parenting plan will look like and more.
If you and your spouse agree on all major issues, it is still wise to hire an attorney as you file for divorce. Attorney Terry Fawell has more than 30 years of experience handling marital dissolution cases in Wheaton and the western Chicago suburbs. She can help ensure that the process of obtaining a marital settlement agreement moves as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
What Is Joint Simplified Dissolution?
If you and your spouse have been married only a few years, have no children and have only limited assets, you may qualify for a much quicker type of uncontested divorce called joint simplified dissolution. To qualify, you must meet several criteria, including:
- A marriage that lasted eight or fewer years
- No children together
- Living apart at least six months
- No house and less than $10,000 in marital property
- $35,000 or less in combined gross income
- No requests for spousal maintenance (alimony)
- Three months of Illinois residency
Do I Really Need A Lawyer?
If you believe you qualify for an uncontested divorce, you may wonder why you should bother hiring a divorce attorney. Can you just download some paperwork from the internet and save a lot of money?
Here are a few reasons to engage the help of a professional instead of trying to do it yourself:
- On your own, you may sign an agreement without being aware of all the details. You may not have fully thought through who will take off work to care for a sick child or how a 401(k) will be divided, for instance. This can cause serious problems down the road.
- Not all online forms actually comply with Illinois law. Important details may be omitted, and once a judgment is entered, it is nonmodifiable, except for issues of custody, child support and maintenance.
- You must file your paperwork in the correct venue. If you guess wrong about which one to choose, you may have to start the process all over again.