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Can I file for an uncontested divorce in Cook County, Illinois without my spouse being present?

Chicago, IL |

Me and my wife have been living in different parts of the country for months now and its time for a divorce. We have no kids, no property,etc. On the court website it says both parties must be present but she does not live anywhere near Chicago and won't be able to get here anytime soon. Is there anyway around this or a different method to completing the divorce without her being here.

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

You can file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and send your wife all of the necessary paperwork to proceed with an uncontested divorce (Affidavit and Waiver of 2 year requirement if you have been separated less than 2 years, Certification and Agreement by Counsel, a completed Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage and a blank Appearance form). Your wife could sign all of the necessary papers and send her Appearance in to be filed with the Clerk. Once your wife has signed everything, you can appear in Court for the "Prove-Up", where your divorce is finalized and your wife does not have to be present. You do want to send your wife notification of the prove-up date though as the Judge may ask for proof that your wife knew about the date and just chose not to be present. You should seek an attorney to make sure you follow the proper procedure.

This response is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

Asker

Posted

Does this mean that I file some paperwork myself and then she will also send a separate pack of paperwork?

Stephanie Elise Greenberg

Stephanie Elise Greenberg

Posted

No, this means that you would fill out all of the paperwork. All she would separately fill out is an "Appearance". She would also need to sign all of the papers you have filled out that I previously listed.

Asker

Posted

She separately fills out appearance form, but is this submitted together with the other forms? I saw that a simplified uncontested divorce can be handled in one day, is this still the case with this appearance form?

Stephanie Elise Greenberg

Stephanie Elise Greenberg

Posted

If you file a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage it can be done in one day and you can get the packet from the Clerk's office. Your wife could give you the appearance form with the fee ($206 in Cook County) and you can file it with the rest of the papers.

Asker

Posted

Thanks for all the responses, think I already asked this but really just want to make sure. Looking at the County court website it says that both parties MUST attend the hearing. Does this appearance form count as her appearing? Thanks Again, sorry if asking over and over

Stephanie Elise Greenberg

Stephanie Elise Greenberg

Posted

If you file a Joint Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, you both must appear in Court that day. If you file a regular Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, your wife's Appearance form counts as her appearance and she does not need to physically appear at the prove-up. Make sure you meet the requirements of a Joint Simplified Petition if you choose to go that route.

Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

I would add very few people are eligible for the Joint Simplified Divorce because of the income. Check out what requirement amount is that the joint income must be under.

Asker

Posted

I used the document generator on illinoisaid website and seems they did a good job. However, on the judgement for dissolution there is no place for either the petitioner or the respondent to sign, only the judge. On the cook country website they have a form that you can download, but there is a spot for the petitioner and respondent to sign. Is it necessary for our signatures to be on this paper?

Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

not on the Judgement. the judge signs that

Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

did you check the very specific rules to qualify for the Joint Simplified Divorce?

Stephanie Elise Greenberg

Stephanie Elise Greenberg

Posted

Is the Judgment for a Joint Simplified Dissolution? If you are not drafting a Marital Settlement Agreement and only a Judgment for Dissolution both parties should sign the Judgment. Some judges require it.

Asker

Posted

I did, I probably would qualify, but my wife will not be present, so therefore we don't qualify. I was using words loosely. It wasn't until after I post that I realized joint simplified vs simplified were two different things. Think I got it all sorted out now. Thanks for all your responses

Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

you are welcome!

Asker

Posted

Actually since you have been super responsive I was wondering if you can answer a few more questions. Do I need to bring proof of debt (student loans) to court? Finally if you could confirm that all my spouse needs to sign before I go to the courthouse is the agreement by counsel, waiver of two year period, and the appearance form?

Stephanie Elise Greenberg

Stephanie Elise Greenberg

Posted

You do not need to bring proof of debt to the court if you divorce is agreed upon. You can put in the judgment that you are each responsible for any debts incurred in your own names (unless that is not what you want). Your spouse needs to sign the documents you listed as well as the Judgment (and a Marital Settlement Agreement, if you are doing one)

Asker

Posted

This is not a joint simplified dissolution, just an uncontested dissolution. In this case my wife and I both need to sign the judgement? Is the marital settlement agreement necessary if only student loans debts are being split between whoever s names they are in? Neither of us are out for each other and we just want the divorce to be official, neither of us are concerned about who gets what or are we trying to have the other pay any of our debts. Thanks

Stephanie Elise Greenberg

Stephanie Elise Greenberg

Posted

You can include the split of the debts in the Judgment but you do both need to sign it.

Asker

Posted

Thanks.

Posted

stephanie gave you good accurate advice. if you are not comfortable doing this yourself. hire a lawyer. the fee should not be a lot for a simple uncontested agreed to divorce.

Posted

You can file as Petitioner and she can file an Entry of Apperance as Respodent if she is willing to cooperate. After the Petition for Dissolution and her Entry of Appearance are filed the next step is to set the matter for hearing and you appear and testify. You will also need to prepare a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage for the Court to enter. If she won't agree to file the Entry of Apperance you need a summons to have her served with the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. At the point where 30 days have passed after her being served and she has not filed any pleading in the case you can set the matter for hearing and send her Notice of Hearing via Certified US Mail. At the hearing if she does not show up and object, then you can testify and present the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage to the Court to enter. In the event things go constested call my assistant Dan London at 312-807-3990 to set up a private telephone consultation. At the consultation we can discuss the confidential details we need to craft a strategic plan. These details should not be broadcast over the Internet.

This is a general answer and does not address the specifics of your individual case. To give the specific answer you need our firm needs you to come in for a consultation.

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