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Illinois divorce: from simple to complex

While some Illinois divorces are relatively simple legal matters, there are cases of complex divorce that can drag on for long periods of time or become very expensive. The level of complexity of a divorce depends on several factors, including whether the couple has children and the amount of assets in question.

A divorce can be relatively simple if the couple has no children or are not expecting children at the time of the split. The couple must also own no real estate, have been married less than eight years and earn less than $35,000 per year with combined marital assets that do not exceed $10,000. If these conditions are met, the parties can seek an expedited divorce after being separated for six months.

In most other instances, one party to the marriage must file and serve the other with a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Illinois allows both no-fault divorce and divorce based on grounds such as mental or physical cruelty. Parties to a no-fault divorce must be separated a minimum of six months; if either party objects to the divorce, the parties must be separated for two years.

Both parties can agree to the terms of the divorce; however, in the absence of an agreement, a judge will eventually have to hear the case. Divorces that proceed to trial are the most expensive and take the longest of any type.

Divorcing parents with children may disagree about child custody and support, and those without children may disagree about financial matters. Utilizing the services of a divorce attorney can minimize conflict between partners, ultimately resulting in a quicker and less expensive legal process.

Source: The Madison St.-Clair Record, "The basics of a divorce case," Rita Novak, Jan. 7, 2013

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