Uncontested Divorce Without Hiring a Lawyer in Illinois

Antonio G Ginting

Dissolution of marriage is often portrayed as a long-drawn legal proceeding with high-priced attorneys for both sides fighting in a courtroom. However,  divorce does not necessarily have to be so stressful and expensive if the spouses are ready and willing to work towards an agreement.

An uncontested divorce where the couple agrees on all of their divorce-related issues, like child custody, property division, spousal support, etc., is a quicker and cheaper process without drama and conflict of litigation, making it the preferable option in terminating a marriage in Illinois.

DIY Divorce: Is It a Right Option for You?

As a much easier process than a traditional litigated divorce, uncontested divorce provides divorcing spouses more flexibility. In particular, it makes it possible to apply for a divorce with little or no legal aid.

Getting a divorce without an attorney is allowed in Illinois and throughout the U.S. In legal terms, it is called Pro Se divorce, meaning self-representation in court.

Although this approach is complicated and risky in contested divorces, most no-fault uncontested cases can be managed by the spouses independently.

In general, DIY divorce is best suited for straightforward cases, such as shorter marriages, marriages with little or no marital property to divide, and marriages without minor children.  Moreover, Illinois Family Law provides for a simplified divorce.

Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage is an expedited divorce process available to couples who meet specific requirements, including but not limited to:

  • the couple does not have children;
  • the marriage lasted for less than eight years;
  • both parties waive alimony;
  • the total fair market value of their marital property is less than $50,000;
  • the spouses’ combined gross income is less than $60,000 (neither party has a gross annual income greater than $30,000);
  • the spouses must agree on all of the terms of the divorce.

If a couple qualifies for this simplified procedure, they should file the divorce papers (along with the written agreement dividing assets and allocating responsibility for liabilities between the parties) with the court together. Thus, Simplified Dissolution can be finalized at the first court appearance, without any waiting period, service of process, etc.

However, if the spouses do not meet the eligibility requirements to qualify for Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, they can still pursue a do-it-yourself divorce. After all, in Pro Se divorce, the most important condition is having a signed settlement agreement and filing the appropriate paperwork to get the process started.

And to make this process even easier, couples can take advantage of online divorce to reduce the cost of divorce and avoiding the hassle of paperwork.

Divorce Over the Internet

An amicable uncontested divorce in Illinois typically requires only a prove-up hearing, that is, a court hearing when the judge grants a divorce based on the couple’s agreed-upon terms. So, in such straightforward cases, legal paperwork often becomes the crucial and most challenging part of the process.

Illinois circuit courts websites have self-help sections that provide basic information and some divorce forms. The petitioner (the spouse initiating the case) can download the document templates or obtain them in the Circuit Clerk’s Office, fill them out, and file independently with the court.

However, even an uncontested divorce may require a considerable number of forms and documents. Besides, every nuance of a case, from grounds for divorce to county of filing and much more, can affect which papers are needed or how to fill them out correctly.

If the papers contain even one mistake, the court can reject them, and the whole divorce process may be delayed to redo the paperwork. Online divorce companies help to avoid this scenario.

Filing for divorce without a lawyer, you may need some help with the paperwork to ensure it is done properly.

Online divorce is a seamless, quick, and inexpensive solution, allowing users to prepare divorce paperwork wherever and whenever is comfortable. After the user completes the online questionnaire, the service has all the necessary data to generate a unique package of divorce forms.

Even though web divorce companies do not provide legal advice, they help their users select all the forms required in a particular case and fill them out according to the court’s requirements. As a result, a user receives the completed divorce papers by email in a couple of days and can print them, sign, and file with the court right away.

Time is an invaluable resource, so why spend it on bureaucracy hassles? When it comes to an uncontested divorce, it’s more reasonable to focus on the settlement agreement rather than “technical” paperwork issues. In addition, internet divorce forms preparation is much more affordable than attorney fees for similar services.

Filing For Divorce in Illinois

When the settlement agreement is signed and the rest of the papers are ready, the filing process is the same for all. The only difference is that self-representing litigants bear full responsibility for their paperwork, compliance with court requirements, deadlines, etc.

Here are the basic steps a couple should usually take to apply for divorce in Illinois:

  1. The plaintiff has to file the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, or both spouses jointly have to file the Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage with the Circuit Court.
  2. Regardless of the type of divorce and other circumstances, the petitioner must pay court filing fees to start the procedure.
  3. In regular divorce, the plaintiff must serve their spouse with copies of the initial divorce forms in any way provided for in the Code of Civil Procedure.
  4. The respondent has 30 days to file an answer to the petition with the Circuit Clerk. After 30 days from the date of service, the final court hearing date can be scheduled.

In addition, the e-filing option is getting increasingly popular in Illinois, so there is more than one valid way to begin a divorce.

Thus, you may file an application for divorce online, using one of the Electronic Filing Service Providers (EFSPs), certified to file through eFileIL. As an official e-filing system for Illinois Courts, eFileIL makes it possible to complete divorce online in a fast and convenient way.

Recently interest in various online services has increased more than ever before. And divorce, which has always been associated with courthouses, trials, and tons of papers, is becoming more accessible than ever.

Online divorce websites allow preparing for the dissolution of marriage as effortlessly as possible, and e-filing providers help avoid going to court. These options change the outdated nature of bureaucracy, striving to reduce stress and make the divorce process a little easier.

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