In Illinois, like in many states, the divorce process involves filling out and filing several forms.
What forms do you need to start a divorce in Illinois?
Here are some links and general information about key forms to familiarize yourself with if you’re getting divorced in Illinois.
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage/Civil Union: This is the petition for divorce that initiates the divorce process. It outlines the basic details of your marriage, the grounds for divorce, and any preliminary requests you may have regarding property division, spousal support, or other issues.
- Non-Marital Real Estate: If you or your spouse owns any real estate that was not part of the marital property, this form is required to disclose such assets.
- Financial Affidavit: This document provides a detailed account of your financial situation, including income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. It is essential for determining issues such as child support, maintenance, and property division.
- Summons: This form is served to your spouse after you file the Petition for Dissolution. It informs them of the divorce proceedings and provides instructions on how to respond.
- Statement of Assets and Liabilities (click here): This form gives a comprehensive overview of your marital and non-marital properties, debts, and liabilities.
Remember, the forms you need may vary depending on your specific circumstances, such as whether you have children.
To learn about service of process in Illinois, read our article, How to Serve Divorce Papers in Illinois.
What forms will I need to respond to a divorce?
If you've been served divorce papers in Illinois, it's crucial to respond appropriately to protect your rights. The following forms are key forms you'll need to fill out and file.
- Answer to Petition for Dissolution of Marriage/Civil Union: In this form, you'll respond to the allegations and requests made by your spouse in their Petition for Dissolution. You have the opportunity to agree or disagree with each point.
- Financial Affidavit: Similar to the petitioner, you'll need to disclose your financial situation. This includes income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. It's crucial for determining issues such as child support, maintenance, and property division.
- Counter-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage/Civil Union: If you disagree with your spouse's grounds for divorce or have requests concerning minor child custody, property division, or any other matter, you may file a counter-petition. Find information about filing a counter-petition here.
- Statement of Assets and Liabilities (click here): You'll also need to provide a comprehensive overview of your marital and non-marital properties, debts, and liabilities.
Remember, it's important to consult with a legal professional when responding to a divorce. They can help make sure you're taking all necessary steps to protect your interests.
Dividing property and debt
Property and debt division can be one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce. In Illinois, the law adheres to the principle of "equitable distribution." In other words, a couple’s marital property and debts are divided fairly but not always equally, or 50/50.
Here are the forms you'll need to handle this part of your divorce:
- Financial Affidavit: Both parties are required to complete this form, which thoroughly details each spouse's income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. You're not required to file it with the clerk, but you do need to provide your spouse or their lawyer with a copy.
- Statement of Assets and Liabilities (click here): This document provides a comprehensive overview of both marital and non-marital properties, debts, and liabilities.
- Non-Marital Real Estate: If either spouse owns real estate that was not part of the marital property, this form is required to disclose such assets.
- Marital Settlement Agreement: If you and your spouse can agree on the terms of your divorce, you can submit this agreement to the court. It should cover all aspects of your divorce, including division of property, child custody, and spousal support.
If you and your spouse cannot agree how to divide your assets, the court will do it for you. Notably, when it comes to dividing property and debt, the court considers several factors, including each spouse's contribution to the acquisition and maintenance of the property, how long you were married, the economic circumstances of each spouse, and any obligations from a previous marriage.
It may be possible to get a fee waiver in Illinois if filing fees would be a hardship.
Determining childcare and support
Determining childcare and support is a critical aspect of divorce proceedings when children are involved. Illinois courts prioritize the best interests of the child above all else when making decisions about custody and child support. Here are the forms you'll need for this part of your divorce:
- Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities: This form allows you to request specific parental responsibilities and parenting time. Click here to access the form.
- Financial Affidavit: Both parties must complete this form, which provides a detailed account of each spouse's income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. It's essential for determining child support payments.
- Child Support Calculation Worksheet: This form helps calculate the amount of child support according to Illinois guidelines.
- Parenting Plan: If you and your spouse agree on these issues, submitting a parenting plan will streamline the process. This outlines how you and your spouse will share and divide parental responsibilities and parenting time.
Temporary orders may be required to keep you or your spouse financially afloat or otherwise protected before the divorce is final. Read about temporary orders here.
In Illinois, decisions about the allocation of parental responsibilities (custody) are based on various factors, including the wishes of the parents and the child (if the child is old enough), the child's adjustment to their home, school, and community, the mental and physical health of all individuals involved, and the willingness of each parent to facilitate a close relationship between the other parent and the child.
For child support, Illinois uses an income shares model. This model considers the income of both parents, the number of children, and the cost of raising children in determining the amount of support.
Remember, it's crucial to consult with a legal professional to ensure you're fully understanding and protecting your rights and interests when it comes to childcare and support.
Finalizing your divorce
Completing your divorce requires a few final steps and forms. Once all issues have been addressed, including property division, debt allocation, child custody, and support arrangements, you'll need to finalize the process with the following documents:
- Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage/Civil Union: This is the final order that officially ends your marriage or civil union. It summarizes the court's decisions on all issues related to your divorce.
- Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage: This form records the details of your divorce for the state's records.
- Notice of Entry of Judgment: This document notifies the other party that the Judgment of Dissolution has been entered.
It's also worth noting that it can be highly beneficial to obtain multiple certified copies of your Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage. This document serves as the official proof of your divorce and is recognized by institutions that may need to update your marital status. This includes banks for updating your account details, credit card companies, and agencies dealing with titles such as property or vehicle ownership. Having several certified copies on hand can streamline the process of updating your personal records and accounts, allowing you to move forward more easily after your divorce.
If you’re embarking on a contested or uncontested divorce in Illinois, you have come to the right place. At Hello Divorce, we are highly skilled and knowledgeable in family law and can help you with your divorce case. Read about our online divorce plans here, or check out our helpful divorce services, including legal advice and divorce coaching.
Responding to a Divorce Case. Illinois Legal Aid.