top of page
  • aaronkorson

How to Get a Simple Divorce in Illinois: A Comprehensive Guide From A Top Divorce Law Firm

Updated: Jul 1


Saying you will get a simple divorce in Illinois is a lot easier said than done. Divorce is a complex process involving two individuals, and when assets, debt, children, or spousal support come into play, disputes can arise that can become costly financially and emotionally.

While seeking a peaceful resolution is commendable and always recommended, it's crucial to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the divorce process. To do so, you must first understand what your rights are and how they can affect your divorce.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps of obtaining a simple divorce in Illinois while addressing the importance of understanding your legal rights, seeking legal assistance if needed, and alternatives to hiring an attorney if necessary.

Life is short. Don't waste time being unhappy. Use this guide as an educational way to make positive changes in your life and explore options that may fit your needs.

What is an uncontested divorce in Illinois?

An uncontested divorce is one of the most simple forms of divorce. It means that spouses agree on everything and they can easily move forward, sign the pleadings that are necessary to file and have a judgment for divorce granted.

The good news is that the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act can make the process fairly easy so long as a couple agrees completely on every aspect including finances, the division of assets, alimony, the division of debt, child support, and child custody.

Should you hire a divorce lawyer if you have an agreed uncontested divorce?

Our firm advises individuals that they should hire an attorney to do their divorce, but every case is different.

If a couple does not have a lot of assets, if children are not involved, and if there isn't a lot of debt to divide, you may not need an attorney. The final factor to consider is your time and your tolerance for risk.

If you are doing the divorce on your own, you are assuming all of the risk on your own and you will have no one else to blame if things do not go as you intended.

We have had a few clients over the years that have thought they could take over cases on their own and have later called us back stating they wish they would have kept our firm because the end result was not as they had anticipated.

If you are looking for someone that is knowledgeable to do your divorce and for it to be done in a quicker manner, you should strongly consider hiring an attorney. The keyword is "quicker divorce". It does not always mean that it will be done fast. The average divorce in Cook County, Illinois is around a year to two years when assets, debt, or children are involved.

At the very least, pay for a consultation and look at options to get your divorce done. It's a good investment overall.

What type of divorce is right for me?

The process of divorce can come in several forms. Divorce can be through strenuous litigation, it can occur through mediation, and it can come in the form of an uncontested divorce through the courts.

A large majority of these choices and different types of divorces are based upon factors that are different in every marriage. To understand cases a little easier, we encourage you to learn the proper terminology used in each case. If you would like. to understand the terms of art, we have broken down words that you may familiarize yourself with within the Chicago Family Attorneys Glossary and Dictionary.

Issues In Illinois Dissolution of Marriage Cases To Consider

Evaluate your answers to these questions to determine what options might be the best fit for you and your family. This is an expandable list of questions. Click on each one to determine potential options available to you.

Do you and your spouse agree on the divorce?

Have personal assets been divided already?

Do you have children from the marriage?

Do you own any real estate or was any real estate acquired during the marriage?

Will either party require spousal support?

Do you own a business or are you self-employed?

Can you afford an attorney or a mediator?

All of these questions will help you determine what is appropriate for you. Evaluate them carefully, answer them honestly, and at the very least, consult with an attorney. If you would like a consultation with our firm to determine your options, please feel free to book an appointment online or call us at (312) 210-9614.

Should I Get A Divorce?

No one can tell you whether or not you should get a divorce. People who are hurt, stressed, or confused often pose this question. The only person that can answer this question is you.

The first step is usually the hardest for most clients. Clients need to evaluate whether or not the marriage is salvageable and determine if they want to work on the marriage or seek a divorce.

This seems obvious for most people, but the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act has specific requirements that must be met.

Previously, there were a variety of grounds for divorce in Illinois, but that changed on January 1st, 2016 when the Illinois legislature introduced no-fault divorces to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

The grounds for divorce previously included drug addiction, adultery, alcoholism, bigamy, desertion of the marriage, extreme physical abuse, and extreme emotional abuse.

735 ILCS 5/401 states specifically:

"Irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and the court determines that efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family."

What this means is that reconciliation between you and your spouse is out of the question. Not only would reconciliation be impracticable, but it would not be in the best interests of the family.

Divorces do not require that both people in the marriage consent to the divorce. Illinois law requires that only one person file and prove to the court that they want to move forward with a divorce and that the divorce is in their best interest.

The best divorce attorneys examine the underlying reasons for litigation.

This is where the holistic portion of our work comes into play. Most clients and people think that lawyers in our area of practice are solely focused on litigation. That's not true, especially for our law firm.

We take a look at the client and try to figure out what their underlying issues are. Most people think they just want a divorce when they come to us and it seems so clear to them, but in reality, we ask why they want to get a divorce although this is a no-fault divorce state.

If the real reason you are considering a divorce is that you are bickering over small things at home or have constant stress, divorce might be a large leap to take at once. If you want to get a divorce because your spouse is not faithful and has squandered hundreds of thousands of dollars, then you are more than likely a good candidate for divorce.

If you are fighting over finances and prioritization of those finances, it may be worthwhile to talk to a financial planner and discuss your concerns openly. If the majority of the stress in the marriage is coming from issues pertaining to mental illness or an unhealthy lifestyle, seek professional assistance.

Some couples have multiple avenues in which they can seek happiness and avoid divorce. Based upon the cases that we have handled over the years, it is always best to be open about your goals, your finances, the way you feel, and your ambitions with your partner before pursuing a divorce.

Getting a divorce is a large life choice. You want to be sure that you have exhausted all avenues and that you are mentally, emotionally, and financially prepared.

Ask yourself these questions to determine if divorce is the right choice for you.
  1. Why do you want a divorce?

  2. Do you think that there is a possibility of reconciliation?

  3. Are the reasons behind the divorce fixable?

If you think numbers two and three have a positive answer behind them, then take a minute to consider other options such as counseling and talking with your spouse.

Affordable Alternatives To Hiring A Divorce Attorney In Illinois.

If you are someone that can't imagine paying an attorney to do a divorce for you, there are plenty of options out there. Attorneys that focus primarily on matrimonial law, family law, and specifically, the Illinois Marriage. and Dissolution of Marriage Act are often vital to divorces based upon the knowledge and litigation experience they possess.

Artificial Intelligence: Coming To A Divorce Near You

With the cutting-edge technology that is available today, attorneys and tech companies are coming out with new products every day that are working toward pro se litigants being able to accomplish tedious and time-consuming divorces on their own. Our firm is currently developing artificial intelligence similar to ChatGPT's OpenAI that will charge you a fee to draft your paperwork, but you must consult with an attorney at the end of the process to receive your documents. Law firms and attorneys still have ethical duties that we have to abide by and a good attorney wants to make sure that you get what you need at the end of a service.

There is still a lot of gray area with regard to artificial intelligence and the liability that comes a long with it, but at the end of the day, you would still be responsible for your own results.

So long as there is some form of guidance by an attorney and human interaction, we believe that this will start to become a more popular option amongst pro se litigants.

Divorce Coaching: An Alternative Trend To Assist In Dissolution of Marriage

Legal Coaching is a newer trend that is fairly popular and gaining more attention every day.

Legal Coaching is when an attorney who is licensed in your state sets a time and date just like a consultation and evaluates your overall situation to understand what your needs and underlying interests are in the divorce.

After completing a comprehensive and exhaustive interview, the attorney will assist in determining which laws will apply, what variables in your divorce may affect your divorce, and what may or may not need to be drafted.

The attorney in this instance can offer a more in-depth way to guide you through your legal proceeding.

Legal Ghostwriting In Illinois Divorces

Legal ghostwriting is when an attorney drafts a document on behalf of a client without representing them in court. What happens in court will ultimately be up to the judge, the client, and the opposing party. Essentially, they're the unseen legal mind that is assisting and trying to steer some of the cases for the client.

It may not always be easy to find legal ghostwriters since advertisements mostly pertain to limited-scope representation in Illinois, but there are some attorneys that may consider this option.

For attorneys who are newer to the concept of ghostwriting and would like to add ghostwriting to their practice, please feel free to read about document preparation services within Illinois Supreme Court Rule 13.

The documents required are outlined within Illinois Supreme Court Rule 13 as well and can be very helpful in the practice of law and alternative services.

Rule 13
Download PDF • 219KB

Limited Scope Appearances Are An Affordable Option In Divorces

In many jurisdictions, clients, and attorneys have traditionally only allowed for full representation in a matter. This is not a flexible approach to representation and requires that clients pay for services that they may feel as though they can complete on their own.

Over the last few years, there's been a growing sentiment that more affordable access to justice should exist. This thought has allowed states like Illinois to introduce a more flexible approach to representation which is known as limited-scope representation.

Instead of an attorney working on the entire case, the attorney and the client agree on a very limited portion of the case to be completed such as an initial appearance and the filing of documents, a hearing on an order of protection, or even a trial.

The attorney usually charges a flat rate, but that is ultimately up to the attorney and their divorce law firm.

Limited Scope Appearance Court Forms for Attorneys

If you are an attorney who is licensed and barred in the state of Illinois and you are newer to the practice of law, there are several rules that you may want to learn about. If you want to learn more about adding limited-scope appearances to your practice, please feel free to read the following documents from the Illinois Professional Rules of Ethics and the Illinois Supreme Court Rules.

Illinois Professional Rule 1.2 talks about appearances and the authority that is granted to attorneys, but it also talks about the Limited Scope appearance agreement that a client and an attorney can enter into.

RULE 1.2
Download PDF • 246KB

Illinois Supreme Court Rule 11 discusses how service of notice for a Limited Scope Appearance shall occur.

Rule 11
Download PDF • 245KB

Limited Scope Appearance Sample
Download DOC • 39KB

How To File For An Uncontested Divorce In Illinois

If you have determined that you do not want to hire an attorney and that you would like to represent yourself, you must first determine if your divorce is uncontested or contested.

Once again, it is highly advisable that you speak to an attorney at a family and divorce law firm that can answer your questions about the process. Paying for an hour of the attorney's time is usually a good investment.

An uncontested divorce is when both parties agree on all aspects of the divorce, but if a single aspect such as division of debt or whether or not a home should be sold is not agreed to, then you need to file in court and start contested dissolution of marriage proceedings.

The First Step To Filing For An Uncontested Divorce: Agree On Everything

After you have determined that you want a divorce, try to have an amicable and reasonable conversation with your current spouse.

Talk to them in a calm fashion and instead of fighting over the underlying reasons as to why you want the divorce, try to ask them if they want a divorce as well without raising your voice and without becoming emotional.

Give them space and reasonable time. Set a time and date as to when you would like their answer on whether or not they want to get a divorce.

If they do not agree to the uncontested divorce, or divorce at all, then it is time for you to move on to the next stage of filing for a contested divorce.

If your spouse agrees to the divorce, then start going through your assets and issues that you may need to discuss.

Determine how to split and resolve any issues surrounding the following:

  • Child Custody also known as Allocation of Parental Rights

  • Child Support

  • Real Estate

  • Marital Debts

  • Retirement Accounts

  • Spousal Support or Spousal Maintenance

  • Personal Assets

Top Divorce Attorney in Chicago, Illinois.
Attorney Aaron Korson

I am Attorney Aaron Korson. I am the owner of Chicago Family Attorneys, LLC.

Throughout Illinois, our law firm has been dedicated to providing peace of mind to thousands of families during their most challenging moments.

Over the past few years, we have accomplished remarkable goals. , including setting legal precedents, overseeing the equitable division of marital and probate estates exceeding $30 million in value, successfully litigating various civil matters, and creating cutting-edge artificial intelligence with the assistance of our team across the world.

The most fulfilling part of our job is not solely about winning in court. The best part of our job is knowing that we assisted our clients to the best of our ability and they were capable of moving onto the next chaper of their lives because of us.

The accomplishments of our firm fill me with great pride, and I sincerely hope that the knowledge we share with you proves invaluable.


bottom of page