Joint Simplified Dissolution is available on a strictly limited basis. Under a joint simplified proceeding, each spouse loses any right to maintenance, more commonly known as alimony.
Generally, joint simplified dissolution applies only to couples for whom all of the following apply. The couple:
- have been married less than 8 years, and
- do not have children born to or adopted by them, and
- have total earnings of less than $60,000 a year, and neither spouse earns more than $30,000 annually own no real estate, and
- have marital property valued at or less than $50,000.
For a complete listing of eligibility requirements for simplified joint dissolution cases, continue to scroll down through this site, or print all pages at this site.
A joint simplified dissolution requires a $227.00 filing fee payable to the Circuit Clerk when the case is filed at the Circuit Clerk’s office. If you are unable to afford the filing fee, you may complete the form entitled “Application to Sue or Defend as an Indigent Person.” This form and others needed to file for a joint simplified dissolution of marriage are available at the link at the top of this page.
General information, instructions and necessary filing forms are provided below for couples who wish to file a joint simplified petition for dissolution of marriage. This joint simplified dissolution procedure is not available to everyone – there are several limitations. Read the information below carefully to see if you qualify for a joint simplified dissolution of marriage.
If you use this joint simplified proceeding you will lose any right you may have to maintenance (commonly known as alimony). Once you lose the right to maintenance in a legal proceeding, you can never again obtain maintenance from your former spouse.
Who May Use the Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage Procedures
In order to use the Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage procedures, all of the following must apply to you and your spouse:
- You must have been married less than eight (8) years and either you or your spouse (or both) must have lived in the State of Illinois for at least ninety (90) days immediately prior to filing for the dissolution.
- No children were born to or adopted by you and your spouse during your relationship and the wife is not now pregnant.
- Irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage. All efforts at reconciliation have failed and future attempts at reconciliation would not be in the best interest of you and your spouse.
- You and your spouse must have lived separate and apart for at least six months and you must be willing to waive the requirement for a two-year separation before obtaining a dissolution on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.
- Your joint annual gross income from all sources must be less than $60,000 and neither party may have a gross annual income in excess of $30,000. Your most recent income tax return is required to show proof of income. The total value of marital property you and your spouse own, less any encumbrances (amounts owed on property, such as a car loan) must be less than $50,000. Neither you nor your spouse may own any real estate.
- You and your spouse each must be willing to permanently give up any right to maintenance (alimony).
- You and your spouse must sign a written agreement dividing between yourselves all marital assets worth more than $100 and dividing responsibility for all debts and liabilities. You must divide the property and sign and exchange all documents (for example, automobile titles) necessary to carry out the agreement before any court hearing (see link for Forms for Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage).
- You and your spouse must waive any right you may have to a bifurcated hearing on your dissolution petition (that is, a hearing held in two parts, one to decide the issues related to granting the dissolution and another to decide any property or other issues).
- Neither Party has any interest in real property or retirement benefits unless the retirement benefits are exclusively held in individual retirement accounts and the combined value of the accounts is less than $10,000.