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Divorce in Stephenson County
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Online Divorce in Stephenson County
Please note: OnlineDivorce.com in Stephenson County, Illinois, is a divorce document preparation service, not a law firm, so it is not eligible to give legal advice. The following article is for informational purposes only, aimed to provide clarity and understanding of the basics of a divorce process in Stephenson County.
Those seeking a quick and inexpensive divorce in Stephenson County should foremost consider an uncontested divorce. When the spouses can settle their case beforehand, they can avoid a divorce trial and even proceed without a lawyer. In such a case, the OnlineDivorce.com service may be beneficial. In an uncontested divorce, the two most essential steps are reaching an agreement on the terms of the dissolution and preparing all the needed divorce paperwork. OnlineDivorce.com takes on the second one from start to finish.
OnlineDivorce.com completes the divorce forms and documents based on the information provided by the customer, taking into account the Family Law of the state and local rules for the filing process. Since most counties, including Stephenson County, have their own specific forms and filing requirements, OnlineDivorce.com customizes the paperwork individually for each divorce case.
The service we provide is cheap and fast. In a couple of days, you can receive your printable divorce forms which are ready to be signed and filed. Additionally, Online Divorce gives step-by-step instructions through the process, so that using OnlinDivorce.com can be as easy as possible. Compared to the flat fees charged by an attorney for an uncontested case, our clients save hundreds of dollars preparing their papers without even leaving home.
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Valid grounds to get divorce in Stephenson County
Illinois is a no-fault state, which means that neither spouse has to prove adultery, abuse, habitual drunkenness, or other fault-based grounds for separation.
If both parties agree to get a divorce in Stephenson County, the only valid ground is "Irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage" (Sec. 401 of Illinois Compiled Statutes).
If either spouse rejects that the marriage is broken, the parties will be required to wait six months while living separately and apart. This waiting period will prove to the court that any efforts at reconciliation have failed, and future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.
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In a divorce in Stephenson County, Illinois, with children involved, the best interest of the child is always the primary concern in custody matters.
Physical and legal custody may be either joint or sole, depending on any agreements made by the parents. Typically, the spouses have to prepare a Parenting Plan which outlines their rights and responsibilities and present it to the court. The judge considers the terms of this plan and decides whether it is fair and appropriate under the Illinois Family Law.
the preferences of the child, given the fact the child is mature enough to express reasoned and independent wishes;
the choices of the parents;
the child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
the parents' and child' mental and physical health;
the parties' ability to cooperate to make joint decisions;
each parent's participation in decision-making concerning the child's life in the past, how much time the child used to spend with each parent before a divorce;
the distance between the parents' residences, which affects the ease of sharing physical custody, as well as each parent's and the child's daily schedules;
each parent's willingness to encourage contact between the other parent and the child;
any history of domestic violence and abuse;
and any other factor that the court deems as significant.
Parenting classes are mandatory in Illinois for all divorcing couples who have underage children. This measure is a part of the best interests of the child. Parenting classes provide the spouses with necessary information, aimed at helping them deal with the marriage breakdown with minimal harm to the child and arranging a life after a divorce in comfort for all parties. The parenting classes can be taken during the evening courses or online.
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Rules for child support in Stephenson County
Child support in Stephenson County, Il, is a monetary obligation that is usually ordered to be paid by the non-custodial parent to the primary custodian. However, the amount of child support is calculated for each parent, as the primary custodian is presumed to spend his or her share directly on the child.
The amount of child support for a particular divorce case shall be determined according to the Illinois Child Support Guidelines outlined in the Illinois Compiled Statutes, Sec. 505. Based on these rules and the financial information provided by each parent, the exact amount of child support can be calculated using the online Child Support Estimator.
The minimum amount of child support is determined pursuant to the following guidelines:
Number of Children
Percent of Supporting Party's Net Income
In summary, the process of computing the basic child support implies the following steps:
Determine each parent's monthly net income.
Add the parents' monthly net incomes together to determine the combined monthly net income of the parents.
Select the corresponding amount from the schedule of basic child support obligations based on the parties' combined monthly net income and number of children.
In a divorce in Stephenson County, Illinois, either spouse is eligible to ask for alimony. Marital misconduct does not affect the amount of alimony or the duration. The only valid premise to receive spousal maintenance is the proven inability of one of the spouses to become self-supporting, for some given period, after the divorce.
prenuptial agreement if any, or the couple's settlement agreement in case of uncontested divorce, etc.;
the length of the marriage;
each spouse's income, property, earning capacity;
the standard of living maintained during the marriage;
each spouse's age and health condition;
each spouse's needs;
the tax consequences of the property division;
the time needed to enable the party seeking alimony to acquire appropriate education, training, and employment;
past contributions by the party seeking maintenance to the education or career potential of the other spouse;
and any other significant factors which may help the court to provide equity.
After analyzing these factors, any of three types of alimony may be awarded:
Temporary alimony (support during the divorce proceeding that ends when the divorce is final).
Short-term maintenance (shall help the receiving party to "rehabilitate" after a divorce, by acquiring a proper education, training, and, finally, decent employment, so that he or she can become financially self-sufficient).
Permanent alimony (long-term support, typically awarded to the party who has significant needs and most often ordered after 10 years of marriage or more).
Uncontested Stephenson County divorce with children
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Property division in Stephenson County
Illinois courts have adopted the equitable distribution model when it comes to how property should be divided in a divorce. So, the spouses' property acquired during the marriage should be shared equitably, given the fact that "equitable" does not always mean "equal."
Along with it, the separate property of each party is not subject to division.
Separate property includes anything acquired by each party before the marriage, any personal gifts and inheritances, regardless of when they were received, as well as income derived from separate property and something purchased/exchanged for such property items.
Thus, after determining which property is joint and which is separate, the spouses should divide their assets in the Settlement agreement. Otherwise, the court makes the equitable distribution of property at its discretion, governed by the following factors:
each spouse's contribution to the acquisition and increase, the same as decrease, in value of the marital property, including the non-monetary contribution;
the dissipation by each party of the marital or separate property;
each spouse's separate property;
the length of the marriage;
each spouse's current financial circumstances;
any antenuptial agreement of the parties;
alimony arrangement if any;
custodial arrangement if any;
each spouse's age and health;
each spouse's income, vocational skills, employability, and estate;
both parties' needs and liabilities;
the reasonable opportunity of each spouse for future acquisition of capital assets and income;
the tax consequences of the property division.
Mediation support in Stephenson County
Spouses who want to obtain an uncontested divorce in Stephenson County can resort to mediation. Divorce mediation is an amicable method to settle disputes during the dissolution process.
Mediation sessions imply that governed by the qualified mediator, the spouses negotiate the terms of their case jointly and for mutual benefit. They work on their Settlement Agreement or Parenting Plan so that they can avoid a divorce trial and resolve all matters out-of-court, in a less stressful way.
Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process. County judges welcome the couples' willingness to participate in mediation sessions.
How to file for divorce in Stephenson County | Step-by-Step
To apply for divorce in Stephenson County, the parties first must meet the Illinois residency requirements. Under the Illinois Compiled Statutes, Sec. 401, the court may enter a judgment of dissolution of marriage only if either party has been a resident of the state for at least ninety days before commencement of the action.
In Stephenson County, to file for divorce, the plaintiff (the spouse who initiates the case) has to file the Petition and other required divorce forms with the Circuit Court in the county where either of the parties lives.
In Illinois, the spouses who are getting a divorce have the option of a Simplified Dissolution or a regular dissolution.
Simplified Dissolution is the fastest and easiest way to get a divorce in Stephenson County. The spouses can file for divorce jointly and finalize it in one day if they have no children or real estate, both parties waive the spousal support, the value of their marital property is less than $10,000, and their income is less than $35,000. As in any uncontested case, they shall make a written agreement concerning the property.
Simplified Dissolution can easily be arranged as a do-it-yourself divorce in Stephenson County. DIY-divorce means separation without the assistance of an attorney or other legal representatives. This option is gaining popularity for its cheap cost. Given that the only thing the spouses have to handle in such a simple divorce case is paperwork, there is no need to pay for an attorney. You can collect the papers on your own or use an affordable online divorce service for this purpose.
In the case of Simplified Dissolution, the spouses apply the Petition and fill out other forms jointly. While in a regular dissolution, the plaintiff must collect and complete these papers individually.
In the case of regular dissolution, the plaintiff must make copies of the required forms and learn how to serve the spouse with these copies. Serving the copies can be done in a number of ways.
If the second spouse signs an Entry of Appearance, the plaintiff does not have to seek the sheriff's help.
If the defendant did not sign an Entry of Appearance, the plaintiff should contact the county sheriff. The county sheriff can be contacted in-person, by bringing the copies of Petition and Summons to the sheriff office, or by mailing these two copies of the Summons and the Petition to the sheriff's office. A self-addressed and stamped envelope should be included so that the sheriff can mail back the Return of Service form that verifies the service.
The defendant has 30 days to file a response with the Circuit Clerk. After 30 days from the date of service, the couple can get a court date for the final court hearing.
Offline and inconvenient process with attorney representation for each spouse. Costly attorney
fees resulting in unforeseen expenditures. Lengthy and expensive option.
Attorney availability impacts completion time
Each spouse has to hire an attorney, which automatically doubles legal costs
Potential court battles add to the already high-stress levels
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Filing fees for divorce in Stephenson County
When the plaintiff files for divorce, he or she has to pay a court filing fee. On average, the court filing fee is $289.
This fee is mandatory for all divorce cases, regardless of the type of procedure. If the plaintiff cannot afford to pay the fee, he or she can ask the court to file for free by completing the Application for Waiver of Court Fees and proving the inability to pay.
How long will it take?
There is no single predictable divorce timeline for all. How long the divorce proceedings take often depends on how long the spouses continue arguing and paying attorney fees. In general, contested divorces typically take much more time than uncontested ones.
As for no-contest divorce, Illinois Family Law does not imply any waiting period beyond the 90-days residency requirement before filing and the 30 days the defendant has to respond to the case. So, the length of the divorce process in Stephenson County mainly depends on how quickly the spouses can reach an agreement and complete the necessary paperwork.
Filing for divorce in Stephenson County | Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a divorce cost in Stephenson County?
It is hard to predict the cost of divorce in Stephenson County since there are so many factors that affect the total price of the procedure.
The simpler the case and the fewer disagreements between the parties, the cheaper the divorce may be. The cost of divorce starts with the court filing fee, but the other expenses vary from case to case. They may include lawyers' fees, divorce mediation, counseling, parenting classes costs, online divorce services costs, sheriff's fees for the service process, etc.
How do you file for divorce in Stephenson County without a lawyer?
Since the state of Illinois recognizes the Simplified Dissolution of the marriage, those spouses who meet its requirements can easily do without a lawyer. A regular uncontested divorce is also possible to arrange without a lawyer, though it may be somewhat more complicated. The plaintiff should collect the necessary documents on their own or by using a service like OnlineDivorce.com then file the forms with the Circuit court. The Illinois Court provides a self-help guide for couples who want to learn the peculiarities of the filing process.
What forms are required for an uncontested divorce in Stephenson County?
The most common forms used in uncontested divorce cases include:
Petition for Dissolution of Marriage/Civil Union
Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage
Entry of Appearance
Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage/Civil Union
Certification of Agreement
Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)
Can I file for legal separation in Stephenson County, Illinois?
The answer is yes. Legal separation is recognized in the state of Illinois. This procedure implies that the parties live apart and allocate their rights and liabilities the same as in a dissolution of marriage but officially remain married. The spouses may not remarry unless they divorce.
When is it allowed to remarry after a divorce?
There are no legal provisions concerning remarriage after divorce in Illinois, so the parties may remarry after the Divorce Decree is issued. However, within 30 days, the defendant has the right to ask the court to vacate the judgment.
Divorce in Stephenson County online
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Here is how OnlineDivorce.com makes completing divorce papers easier:
We provide the full divorce packet required by the local court - clients do not need to drive to their local courthouse to get the blank forms or search for the right divorce forms online. In rare cases, local county forms can vary in color, paper material, size, or bar code, so they may need to be obtained directly from the county clerk's office.
We complete the necessary forms for clients based on their answers given in a simple guided online interview - clients do not need to understand family law or read through complicated instructions to figure out how to fill out the forms themselves.
We give detailed, easy to follow step-by-step instructions for filing a divorce with the court - so the client knows exactly what to do to get his/her divorce finalized.
We provide unlimited technical support - if a client needs assistance through the online process, he/she can always reach out to us via phone, email, or live chat, and we'll do our best to help.
We save our clients time and money - if divorcing spouses agree regarding the terms of their divorce, they typically don’t have to pay thousands to a lawyer to handle their divorce forms and don't need to spend hours trying to do it all by themselves.
We guarantee 100% court approval on divorce papers prepared through our website or your money back - we have 21 years of experience in completing divorce forms so clients can be sure the court will accept their documents without issues.
With a contested divorce, spouses will have to go through numerous steps before the divorce is finalized, including:
prepare, file, and serve (deliver) the divorce petition
respond to the petition
interview and hire an attorney
pre-trial legal motions and hearings
settlement proposals and negotiations between attorneys
if settlement fails, prepare for and complete a court trial
appeal, if you dispute the trial judge’s decision(s)
Prepare to pay exorbitant attorney's fees - at least $2000-3000 depending on your case’s complexity.
Hourly rates vary with different attorneys and average $250-300 per hour. In rural areas, attorneys
may charge less. However, if you live in a large city, local attorneys may charge up to $1000 per hour.
At first glance, using such sites may look like an easy way to go, but it may turn into additional
headaches for you. Some of the issues you may experience when dealing with basic online divorce
long processing times - do you like waiting?
inexperienced and poorly-trained customer support
not user-friendly technology
lack of guidance during the process
hidden fees, e.g., for any, even the simplest, revisions
outdated divorce forms causing court rejection
Did you know that some online divorce providers have virtual addresses in the US because they are
based in other countries? No wonder some clients are provided with outdated divorce forms that will
be rejected by the court. The result? Those people lose their time and money because these
unprofessional services do not keep their state forms up-to-date.
Beware of fake reviews: with no experience and lack of quality service, some sites post reviews by non-existent "customers".
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