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Understanding Joint Simplified Divorce in Illinois

joint simplified, Wheaton divorce lawyersDivorce is never easy. However, if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse agree on the major issues, you may be eligible for an expedited form of divorce called dissolution of marriage, otherwise referred to as a joint simplified divorce. This option can help condense the process of divorce down from years long to mere months, in most cases.

Eligibility Requirements

Relatively few couples meet all of the requirements for a joint simplified dissolution of marriage, but if you qualify, your divorce may be concluded not in months or years, but in just a few weeks. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage, you are eligible if:

  • Both spouses agree that their marriage has ended due to irreconcilable differences (not due to any other ground);
  • You have neither children nor any interest in real property (such as owning your own home);
  • You have not filed any kind of action for divorce in another state;
  • Neither spouse makes a higher gross income than $30,000 per year (or $60,000 in gross income per year between you);
  • You have not been married for more than eight years;
  • You have less than $50,000 in joint marital property;
  • You both agree to waive any rights to maintenance from each other; and
  • You and/or your spouse have been an Illinois resident for at least 90 days before beginning proceedings.

The Process

Assuming that you and your spouse meet the requirements for a joint simplified dissolution, the process of obtaining a divorce is straightforward. You must obtain the appropriate forms from your county courthouse—or online, if your county makes them available that way—and return the completed paperwork with the necessary documentation attached. You and your spouse will need to make a full disclosure of all of your assets and liabilities. A written agreement that allocates all assets worth $100 or more is also required. If all the papers are in order, you and your spouse will need to attend a final hearing before a judge—generally, a very short proceeding. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the judge will then sign your order for divorce, making it final.

Seek Experienced Legal Help

If you need help figuring out whether or not you are able to apply for a joint simplified dissolution, or if you and your spouse have any other questions about your impending divorce, it is best to consult an experienced Wheaton divorce lawyer. Contact the Andrew Cores Family Law Group to discuss your available options. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation.





Can an Illinois Judge Refuse to Grant Me a Divorce?

divorce, Wheaton divorce lawyerNobody wants to be trapped in a failed marriage. Depending on where you live, however, getting a divorce may not be so easy. Consider a recent story from the United Kingdom where a 66-year-old woman is fighting in an appeals court to obtain a divorce. The woman previously told a family court judge in England that she has been “desperately unhappy in her marriage for many years” and there was “no prospect of reconciliation” with her estranged husband.

Despite that, the judge refused to grant a divorce, dismissing the wife’s misery as routine complaints “of the kind to be expected in a marriage.” If the appeals court does not reverse the family judge’s decision, the wife will have to live separate from her husband for a period of at least five years before she can finally receive a divorce.

Illinois Is a Pure “No-Fault” State

Could a similar scenario play out in Illinois? Not under current law. Illinois, like England and many parts of the United States, traditionally maintained a “fault-based” divorce system, where one spouse was required to prove some sort of misconduct by the other spouse. For example, Illinois previously recognized adultery, alcohol abuse, physical or mental cruelty, or one spouse’s conviction on felony charges as grounds for seeking a divorce.

However, Illinois lawmakers decided to abandon fault-based divorce as of January 2016. Under current law, all divorces are considered “no-fault.” This means an Illinois court is required to grant a divorce if certain conditions are met, regardless of whether either spouse committed any misconduct against the other.

In legal terms, a no-fault divorce means the parties have decided to end their marriage due to “irreconcilable differences” that have led “the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” To meet this requirement, in most cases, the spouses may provide testimony that the marriage is beyond repair and that future attempts to reconcile would not be worth the effort.

If there is disagreement between the spouses regarding the status of the marriage, the law provides an alternative for proving irreconcilable differences. To do so, the estranged spouses must live “separate and apart” for a period of at least six months prior to the entry of a divorce judgment. Such a separation creates an “irrebuttable presumption” of irreconcilable differences.

Divorce Can Be Resolved Amicably

Just because Illinois divorce is no-fault does not mean all divorces are without controversy. Before making a divorce final, a court must still ensure certain other issues are resolved, including child custody, spousal support, and the division of marital property. This process need not involve litigation. A passionate DuPage County collaborative law attorney can advise you regarding methods of alternative dispute resolution. In many cases, mediation or collaborative law can help parties reach a mutually beneficial settlement privately and without extensive court proceedings. Contact our offices today to schedule a consultation with an attorney who can help explain your options.





Divorce and Family Law Issues Facing Military Families

military, DuPage County divorce lawyerFamily law matters can be complicated, especially when one or both spouses are military service members, whether active duty, reserve, or retired. If you or your spouse is a current or former military member, it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney in Illinois who handles military divorces and is familiar with all the ways a service member’s career can impact the divorce process.

Factors That May Affect a Military Divorce Proceeding

Due to the extremely stressful situations military families must face, many military marriages deteriorate over time. Our compassionate family law attorneys in DuPage County understand that along with the sacrifices your family has made in service to our country often comes marital strain as the result of prolonged deployment, post-traumatic stress disorder, feelings of depression and isolation, and difficulty readjusting to home life following deployment. These issues can even lead to substance abuse, domestic violence. and infidelity.

No matter the circumstance that led to the breakup of your marriage, our experienced divorce attorneys can be by your side to support you through this complex process.

Legal Issues Unique to Military Divorce

There are a number of legal matters unique to military divorce that are crucial you consult your divorce attorney about, including:

  • How deployment could affect child custody arrangements;
  • Whether a civilian spouse retains certain armed service benefits following divorce;
  • How frequent relocation might affect child custody and parenting time;
  • Issues related to military pension and retirement and the rights of the civilian spouse;
  • Whether any domestic violence or substance abuse amounts to military misconduct;
  • The interplay of state and federal laws affecting service personnel and their dependents; and
  • Military spousal and child support.

Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act and its Impact on Divorce

Another important law that may affect a military divorce is the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act, which allows soldiers to suspend certain legal actions so they can devote their full time and attention to their service obligations.

This can include postponing collection of debts, such as credit cards, mortgage payments, and taxes, among other debts, as well as allowing servicemen and women to sometimes get out of their rental and vehicle leases, or to potentially avoid foreclosure proceedings. While this can be a relief for military families in times of need, it can also pose complex challenges during divorce proceedings, when issues of marital assets and debts must be decided.

Consult an Experienced Military Divorce Attorney in DuPage County

The unique challenges faced by divorcing military members and their spouses are why it is so crucial that you work with an experienced DuPage County family law attorney who understands the nuanced legal issues that can arise during such a divorce. Call 630-871-1002 today for your free initial consultation.