In a perfect world, no one would have to get divorced and marriages would last forever. The next best option would be that if people had to get divorced, it would be amicable and there would be nothing to fight over. In 1994, the state of Illinois made a streamlined divorce option available called the Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage.
There are certain criteria that a couple must meet in order to qualify for this kind of agreement. In the eyes of the state, simplified means that there are no children between the couple, the marriage is less than 8 years in duration, and the couple has been separated for at least 6 months. The financial requirements include that there is no real estate to be agreed upon, all personal property including any vehicles are worth less than $10,000.00, and the couple's total annual income is less than $35,000.00 with an additional clause that no spouse earns more than $20,000.00 on their own.
If you meet all of the above requirements, you are well on your way. the final requirement that makes that filing a truly joint process is that both people have to go to court. If one spouse decides not to show up, the joint petition will automatically be dismissed. If all terms are agreed and both spouses come to court, the dissolution process can be handled in just one court date. There are several processes, such as the service of a summons, that are nullified by this quicker process. At this single court date, the marital settlement agreement will be presented to the judge, signed by each spouse. Then the terms of the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage would be present for the judge's final approval.
While it may seem to be the easiest option, it may not necessarily be the best option for everyone. If you have questions whether this process would work for you, contact a knowledgeable Illinois family law attorney.