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Do You Qualify for a Joint Simplified Divorce?

Posted on November 10, 2015 in Divorce

joint simplified divorce, Illinois law, Kane County family lawyersA number of previous posts on this blog have discussed the idea that divorce does not need to be a knock-down, drag-out battle. It is very possible for divorcing spouses to remain calm, civil, even friendly throughout the process. These types of cases lend themselves quite well to proceedings for uncontested divorce, in which neither party objects to the divorce and the details of the agreement are generally negotiated outside of the courtroom. Uncontested divorce is often much faster and less expensive than contested divorce, but the law in Illinois provides an additional option that may be easier and even more cost-effective. It is called joint simplified divorce and there are very specific conditions that apply in order for a couple to be eligible.

What is Joint Simplified Divorce?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act offers an alternative to more traditional divorce for couples without complex marital concerns. In a joint simplified divorce, both parties file the petition together, along with their signed agreements regarding property and support. The court will typically hear the case on the same day that it is filed, and if everything is in order, the judgment may be entered immediately. This represents a dramatic savings in time, energy, and expenses compared to formal divorce proceedings.

Eligibility Criteria

So that the process can be handled quickly, only couples meeting the law’s strict requirements will be considered eligible for a joint simplified divorce. To qualify, the parties must:

  • Each waive his or her right to spousal maintenance;
  • Meet the residency requirements for formal divorce;
  • Show that irreconcilable differences have caused the breakdown of the marriage;
  • Not have had or adopted any children together;
  • Not have exceeded eight years of marriage;
  • Not own real estate or significant retirement savings;
  • Have a marital estate with a combined value of less than $50,000;
  • Have a combined gross annual income less than $60,000, with neither party having a gross income in excess of $30,000; and
  • Have a written agreement that divides all assets with a value of more than $100 and allocates all debts between them.

Legal Advice is Recommended

The law also contains several provisions that encourage a couple seeking a joint simplified divorce to consider retaining attorneys for guidance in the preparation process. While the filing of the paperwork is simple enough, a lawyer can help each party understand the long-term ramifications of their decisions and ensure the agreement is equitable and fair.

If you would like to learn more about joint simplified divorce, contact an experienced Lombard family law attorney. At A. Traub & Associates, we will assist you with developing a workable divorce agreement no matter how big—or how small—your marital estate may be. Call us today to schedule a confidential consultation in one of our two convenient office locations.


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