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Virtual Divorce in Illinois

As Bob Dylan put it best on his 1964 album, “The times, they are a-changin.’”  

Finding that special someone has been high-tech for years, with online match-making sites grossing over $3 billion a year and 40% of couples in the U.S. now meeting for the first time online. 

But while the divorce process has evolved steadily in Illinois over the last 201 years since the first divorce laws in the state were passed, 2020 has seen some of the most momentous changes to the legal process of how couples get divorced — including the possibility for virtual divorce in McHenry Illinois.

A high-tech divorce scenario

Imagine this:  A young, impetuous couple gets married.  A few years later, they both realize that they made a big mistake and that they aren’t the soulmates that they thought they were.  Luckily, they didn’t have children, so they don’t have anything to worry about there.  

Hubby wants Fido, and wifey is fine with that.  (Fido has bladder control issues anyway.)  At some point, the straw breaks the camel’s back, and they decide to part ways.  A few months later, it is time to finalize this split and make it official in the legal sense, but they are both reluctant to start divorce proceedings because it is going to be expensive and a hassle.  

What the unhappy couple doesn’t realize is that divorce has gone high-tech.  As a result of the recent upheaval caused by the pandemic and the need for extreme health safety measures, some courts in Illinois have streamlined the process and actually made it possible to get a divorce without ever setting foot in a courtroom or even attending a Zoom hearing.  

Couples can now get “e-divorced,” for lack of a better term.  It doesn’t have to be expensive, and they don’t have to miss hours or days of work to settle the divorce.  

How does Virtual Divorce work in Illinois?

Virtual divorces will still need to satisfy all of the standard requirements for a divorce, they simply don’t need to waste much, if any, time in a courtroom as long as both spouses are relatively amicable in the negotiations. Here’s the basic process for a virtual divorce:

  1.  At least one of the two spouses will need to show that they have been an Illinois resident for a minimum of 90 days to verify and satisfy residency requirements.
  2.  The couple must have lived separately and apart for a period of at least six months. This is required for divorces based on “irreconcilable differences” and filing as no-fault.
  3.  One party will need to file the petition for dissolution of marriage with the clerk of the county in which the marriage occurred, in most cases. Some counties may not have this requirement.
  4.  The matter must be uncontested (meaning that the couple must be in complete agreement as to all issues), and both spouses must be aware of the proceedings.
  5.  Assets need to be discovered and determined to be co-owned or individually owned. 
  6.  Parties will need to negotiate and eventually agree on issues such as child support, custody, insurance, spousal support, and more.
  7.  To finalize a divorce, at least one court appearance, held virtually in this case, must be attended. Failed negotiations or contested divorces may need several court appearances.

Once everything is filed and filing fees are paid, the dissolution of the marriage can be set for electronic proof-up by submitting the final documents and orders to the Judge. If everything is done correctly, the Judge signs the Judgment for Dissolution and the parties are free to begin the search again for their true soulmate.  

Contact Diamond Divorce Law to help guide you through this process

Diamond Divorce Law, Attorneys at Law, has a team of experienced divorce attorneys that have helped clients get divorced, both the old fashioned way and the new, virtual way, and they are ready to guide you through whichever process is best for you and your divorce. Contact us to learn more about our services.

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