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For many people, the decision to get a divorce is not an easy one. But once you have come to the conclusion that ending your marriage is the best course of action, you usually want to get through the process as quickly as possible. The state of Illinois makes getting a divorce straightforward – especially if you have limited property and no children, and you and your spouse agree upon the need for a divorce. You may even qualify for a divorce without a lawyer. However, the more complications that are present, the more challenging the divorce process becomes. This is why it is always recommended that if you and your spouse are in disagreement about child custody, property division, or other issues, you consider divorce mediation or seek professional legal guidance.
If you are in a position where your divorce will be relatively straightforward, you can easily dissolve your marriage in Illinois. You just have to fill out the proper divorce forms for Illinois with the correct information and submit them to your county clerk. Getting your Illinois divorce papers completed online by CompleteCase.com’s preparation service makes this even easier by ensuring that you have the right forms and that your documents are filled out correctly the first time. See if you qualify for an online divorce.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the 2011 divorce rate in Illinois was 2.6 for every 1,000 residents. The data provided by the CDC indicates that this is a relatively low rate, compared to many other states, and that the state of Illinois has had a relatively low divorce rate as far back as 1990, the earliest date where data is available from the organization.
Illinois, like many other states, refers to divorce as the “dissolution of marriage”. There are two different types of dissolution available in Illinois, the older fault-based divorce and the more common no-fault. A fault-based divorce requires that one party blame the other for the divorce. In Illinois the grounds for fault include bigamy, impotence, attempting to take the other person's life, abandonment for at least a year, adultery, felony conviction, extreme cruelty, alcohol abuse or drug addiction for at least two years and infecting the other person with an STD.
Typically, most divorcing couples choose the no-fault option. In this case, the couple states that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”.
Illinois requires that the couple getting divorce have lived in the state for 90 days. The only ground for divorce in Illinois is irreconcilable differences.
The main form required for filing for divorce in Illinois is the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. On this form you will list both your and your spouse's information and the reason for getting a divorce. The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage can be obtained from your county clerk, as well as on certain county websites for Illinois. The Cook County Court website, for instance, offers a range of forms for filing for divorce in that specific county. Keep in mind, you will need to find out exactly what forms your county requires for you to file for divorce. The requirements can vary by county, and you do not want to wind up filling out the wrong forms. Submitting the wrong forms, failing to submit certain forms and filling out forms incorrectly can all result in significant delays or added costs to your divorce.
CompleteCase.com offers you an easy way to know that you are using the right forms for your specific circumstances, and that those forms are filled out accurately. Many people find using online divorce papers from CompleteCase.com much easier than searching through the sometimes confusing court websites. When you want to ensure that your divorce goes as quickly and as cleanly as possible, online divorce documents are often the easiest option.
When you have completed and printed your online divorce documents, it is now time to make a visit to your county clerk. In most instances, you can find the clerk's office in your local county court, where you can present the completed divorce paperwork. You should bring a payment method that is accepted by the clerk, usually a certified check or cash, to pay your state filing fee.
Keep in mind that if you manage to settle your divorce without going to trial, the state of Illinois will still require you to attend a “prove up” hearing. At this hearing, you will need to explain the need for divorce to the court and produce all supporting documentation. The judge may inquire about how you and your spouse intend to divide your property as well.
When you file with the clerk, he or she will provide you with copies of your divorce papers. You will need to make copies for yourself, both for the prove up hearing and to serve to your spouse if necessary.
The state of Illinois requires that you serve the divorce paperwork to your spouse. There are several methods of serving papers, including hiring a professional process server, hiring the sheriff to serve the papers or publishing a notice of the divorce in the paper.
Most people choose to hire the sheriff to serve the divorce papers, as it is the least expensive option. It may take some time, depending on how busy the sheriff is, but once the papers are served you will receive a document that proves that the papers were served. Present this proof to the county clerk to complete the filing process.
If you need the papers served more quickly, you can hire a private company that specializes in serving papers. It may be more expensive, but likely faster. If you cannot find your spouse for some reason, you also have the option of publishing the divorce information. This option is the most expensive, and therefore only desirable if other options will not work.
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It's great to have an option like this when dealing with an amicable, uncomplicated divorce - no need for attorneys when there's nothing to hash out.
By Deborah Sharp, USA TODAY
Couples can find a mate, fill out a bridal registry and plan a honeymoon on the computer. Now they can also divorce online.
A Web site started last year by a Seattle attorney gives the unhappily wed in Washington, California, Florida and New York the option of dissolving their marriages online. Texas is next, and several other states are being considered.
The site is the latest twist in a do-it-yourself trend. Changing trends in the USA Average age of first marriage Divorce year male female Divorced Americans Divorces granted 1970 23.2 20.8 4.3 million 0.7 million 2000 26.8 25.1 19.9 million 1.2 million Sources: U.S. Census; National Center for Health Statistics
No national figures exist on self-representation. But some experts estimate that as many as half of 1.2 million couples divorcing annually in the USA do so without a lawyer representing at least one of the parties.
The Web site, www.completecase.com, differs from the many self-help sites offering advice, referrals or downloads of documents needed to file for divorce in a particular state.
For $249, the Web site prompts couples with questions on everything from dividing financial assets to deciding where the kids celebrate birthdays. The software then uses their answers to fill out the documents that a couple can download and submit to a court.
Requirements vary by locale as to whether a couple must show up in court or can mail in or fax their divorce filing. But in all cases, a judge must still sign the order ending a marriage.
Randy Finney, a family law attorney for 11 years and the founder of the Web site, says it was designed for uncontested divorces. It's not for couples with convoluted finances or for those fighting over child custody and who gets the dog.
"The decision to get a divorce comes way before the decision about how to get a divorce," says Finney, 35, who is happily married. "I don't think anyone takes their wedding vows so frivolously that they're going to get a divorce just because they can do it for $249."
Not everyone is thrilled with the notion of cyber-divorce.
Judges and lawyers fret that couples who use the Web site may believe they've had legal counsel when they haven't. And leaders in the movement to save marriages complain that point-and-click divorce further undermines the institution's supposed sanctity.
"I can only think of one use of the Internet that's worse and that's pornography," says Dennis Rainey, executive director of FamilyLife, a religious group based in Little Rock. "We're trying to do all we can to call people to keep their wedding vows."
FamilyLife has joined with 30 other organizations since 1999 in drawing 175,000 spouses nationwide to "I Still Do" ceremonies that affirm marriage.
Despite the marriage celebrations, about one-fifth of American men and women have been divorced at least once.
A study released last month by the U.S. Census shows about 90% of Americans will marry at some point. For men, 54% married just once. For women, 60%. Serial marriage is rare: Only 3% of Americans have married three times or more; 13% have married twice.
Finney estimates his Web site has helped 1,000 couples unhitch. Stacey Kiss of Seattle is among those who traveled to virtual Splitsville. The self-described "Internet junkie" says it took her and her husband of seven years about three hours one night to click through the Web site's detailed questions.
"We never got along on anything through our entire marriage, but we still managed to come to an agreement," says Kiss, 36, a hospital business-services manager. "Why drag it out and make it complicated?"
She says the online split was cheaper and easier than her first, traditional divorce. Now single, Kiss says she's comfortable with dot-com divorce, but she draws the line at cyber-dating.
"I like surfing the Web," she says, "but not for men."
Ernesto Gomez and his wife Blanca had been planning to get a divorce for three years. They had already separated and worked out custody and child support for their two kids. But they had stalled on filing because they didn't want to deal with the hassle and expense. Hiring a lawyer, they were told, would cost at least $1,500. Using a free service offered by the court would involve numerous meetings spread out over several weeks.
So when Gomez heard an ad on the radio for a service called completecase.com that would let him fill out the paperwork online for just $249, he decided to give it a try. Four days after he logged onto the site, he had the papers completed and filed in court. "CompleteCase gives you step-by-step instructions. You can't miss anything," says Gomez, a distribution-center manager in Miami.
Gomez is not the only one turning to the Internet to simplify the process. Other services, like divorcewizards. com and divorcesyourself.com also offer quickie online divorce kits, usually for $300 or less. No lawyer is involved unless a client chooses to pay extra for a consultation by phone or e-mail.
Brian Lee, president of legalzoom.com says his site has handled more than 30,000 divorces since its launch in 2001. Though people still have to convey their forms to the court, the process of filling out the paperwork can take less than an hour, thanks to simple online questionnaires that hand-hold customers through the process.
Online divorce is not an option if the couple can't agree on the terms. Even when they can, not everyone thinks it's a good idea. "Instant divorce is the last thing we need," says Mike McManus, president of the marriage advocacy group Marriage Savers. Instead of a divorce, McManus says, couples often just need time to cool off before working out their differences.
Still, such services are spreading. Utah and California offer do-it-yourself sites that let you fill the forms out online (for $20 at utcourts.gov/how to; free at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp) Traffic on the California site rose from 6,800 page views in May 2002 to nearly 17,000 in May 2003. --By Anita Hamilton
The Los Angeles Times; Los Angeles, Calif.; Nov 19, 2001; MARTIN MILLER;
Abstract: Californians can legally split from their spouses over the Web site http://www.completecase.com and never have to set foot in a courthouse or lawyer's office. Legal papers can be completed within anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the complexity of the split, according to Randolph Finney, a Seattle-based family law attorney who founded the site.
For Californians, once the judge signs the documents, they are "legally binding and enforceable," says Finney, but per state law the divorce doesn't become finalized for six months.
Full Text: (Copyright, The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times 2001 All rights reserved)
The circle of online life is now complete. You can date online; you can marry online; and now you can divorce online.
Californians can legally split from their spouses over the Web site http://www.completecase.com and never have to set foot in a courthouse or lawyer's office. Legal papers can be completed within anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the complexity of the split, according to Randolph Finney, a Seattle-based family law attorney who founded the site.
For a flat fee of $249, the site walks divorcing couples step-by- step through such issues as community property and calculating child support payments. When the online form is completed, the applicant simply signs the papers and mails them to the courthouse.
But it's not for everyone. It works only for those couples who are parting amicably and filing for an uncontested divorce. "If you can't agree on who gets the kids, our site is not for you," says Finney, a married 35-year-old.
The site debuted earlier this year, but only to residents of Washington state. Last month, California was added, and soon Florida, New York and Oregon are expected to be added. So far, the site has helped process hundreds of divorces, says Finney.
The site has drawn critics who denounce the online divorce as yet another blow to society's bedrock institutions. The very ease of the process, some contend, makes family and marriage as disposable as an old appliance. Indeed, a similar site in England was recently condemned by the pope as immoral because it made divorce too easy.
Naturally, Finney disagrees. "I think our Web site has the opposite effect," he said. "If you're going to get divorced, let's do it in a civil manner. I really don't believe having something available that makes it easier and costs less money is going to encourage divorce."
The inspiration for the project came from his law practice, where he primarily handles divorces. It took about a year to get the site up and running. "On almost a daily basis, I would get clients who said they needed a divorce but didn't have the money or the patience with the legal process to pursue it," he said. "These people are really stuck between a rock and a hard place."
For Californians, once the judge signs the documents, they are "legally binding and enforceable," says Finney, but per state law the divorce doesn't become finalized for six months. "It isn't quite as fast as a Las Vegas divorce," he says.
Your case registration has been submitted successfully.
The next step in completing your divorce petition is to pay the case processing fee.
After your payment is processed, your personal login will be accessible. Logging in will allow you to answer the additional questions required to complete your divorce.
When completing the online questionnaire, help and explanations are provided for each question. Should you have any questions during the process, you may call our support line to speak with a divorce specialist.
We provide a 100% guarantee that the forms provided by CompleteCase.com will be accepted by the court. If the forms are not accepted due to the fault of CompleteCase.com, we will make any changes requested by the court or judge (without charge), or a refund will be issued. Verification of any denial or rejection may be requested.
Based on the information provided you are not qualified to use CompleteCase.com to complete your divorce online at this time.
We recommend contacting a licensed Family Law attorney to help you with your situation.