Family & Divorce Information Overview

Domestic relations proceedings include dissolution of marriage (divorce), legal separation and custody matters.  Family cases include parentage and support matters, as well as other types of actions listed below.  The Clerk of the Court does not provide the Petition for filing a dissolution of marriage, except in instances where a joint simplified dissolution is allowed. Please review the information carefully to see ensure this procedure is available for your particular case.

This case type includes the following:

  • Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Civil Union
  • Petition for Legal Separation
  • Petition for Visitation or Child Custody
  • Paternity

Family & Divorce FAQs

A Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage is a way in which you and your spouse can obtain a divorce. It is a simplified procedure that can be achieved either with the assistance of an attorney or on your own. However, a Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage is not available to everyone. You must carefully read this pamphlet to make sure you and your spouse qualify. Also, certain documents including an agreement on the division of property must be signed by both you and your spouse. Thus, there must be some basic cooperation between the parties.

To use the Joint Dissolution of Marriage procedure, the following must apply to you and your spouse: 

  • Irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable break down of your marriage. All efforts at reconciliation of the differences 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. Also, you both must be willing to waive the requirements for a two-year separation before obtaining a dissolution on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. 
  • You must have been married for less than eight (8) years and either you or your spouse (or both) must have lived in the State of Illinois and County of Will for at least ninety (90) days immediately prior to filing for the dissolution. 
  • No children were born or adopted by you and your spouse during your relationship and the wife is not now pregnant.
  • Your combined annual gross income from all sources must be less than $35,000.00, but neither party may have a gross annual income in excess of $20,000.00. The total value of marital property you and your spouse own must be less than $10,000.00. Calculate the “total value” by adding together the value of all assets and then subtracting the amount of all encumbrances. Encumbrances are amounts owed on the property, such as amounts owed on a car loan.
  • Neither you nor your spouse may own or have any interest in real estate. 
  • You and your spouse each must be willing to permanently give up any right to maintenance (alimony). 
  • You and your spouse must have disclosed to each other all assets each of you have, and disclosed all tax returns filed during your marriage. 
  • You and your spouse must sign a written agreement dividing between yourselves all marital assets worth more than $100.00 and dividing responsibility for all debts and liabilities. You must divide the property and sign and exchange all documents (such as automobile titles, etc.) necessary to carry out the agreement before any court hearing. 
  • You and your spouse must waive any right you may have to a bifurcated hearing on your dissolution petition (hearing held in two parts, one to decide the issues relating to granting the dissolution, and another to decide any property or other issues).
There are five forms which must be fully completed by both parties before the judge will grant a joint simplified dissolution of marriage. The total filing fee is $509.00, cash or money order accepted ($312.00 to file the “Petition” +$197.00 to file the “Appearance”). No personal or business checks are accepted. Forms: 
  1. Joint Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage (Form 49A 1-3) 
  2. Simplified Procedure Joint Affidavit Regarding Separation of the Parties, Division of Property and Waiver of Bifurcated Hearing (Form 49B 1 & 2) 
  3. Simplified Procedure Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage (Form 49C) 
  4. Simplified Procedure Agreement as to Assets and Debts (Form 49D 1 & 2)
  5. Appearance (Form 17 B)

On all five forms, you should either type or neatly print all of the necessary information in ink. Fill out all five forms completely. Your Circuit Clerk will stamp the Case Number on the Petition, Affidavit, Judgment, Agreement and Appearance at the time of filing. Even though this is a “joint” petition, one of the parties must be designated as a “Plaintiff” (the party seeking the dissolution is the plaintiff), and the other must be designated as a “Defendant”. 

The “Joint Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage” and the “Affidavit Regarding Separation of the Parties, Division of Property, Waiver of Bifurcated Hearing” and “Simplified Procedure Agreement as to Assets and Debts” must be signed in front of a Notary Public and notarized before you present them to the Circuit Clerk at the time you are opening your case. 

The “Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage” should be completed and signed by both parties before your court appearance date (sign on the designated lines that appear below the words “Approved as to Form and Content”). 

The Judge will sign and date the judgment if the dissolution is granted. 

If the wife wishes to return to her maiden or former name, she should complete line numbers 11 and C on page 2 of the Petition and line number D of the Judgment. On your court appearance date, the Circuit Clerk in the courtroom will need you to complete and present to the Court the Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage triplicate form which is a state requirement for vital statistics.

After you and your spouse have prepared and signed in front of a Notary Public all the necessary forms “Joint Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage”, “Simplified Procedure Joint Affidavit Regarding Separation of the Parties, Division of Property and Wavier of Bifurcated Hearing”,“ Simplified Procedure Agreement as to Assets and Debts”, “Appearance”, and “ Simplified Procedure Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage,” bring them back to the courthouse so that a Circuit Clerk at the civil new case filings window can collect the proper filing fees and stamp the originals for the court record. He/she shall return two finished copies sets: one shall go to the Plaintiff and the other set for the Defendant. Along with the judgment so that you and your spouse can present in open court.
The final step in the dissolution of marriage requires both you and your spouse to appear together before a judge, who will review the court record, hear your testimony, and decide whether or not to grant the dissolution. Until this is done, you and your spouse are not divorced and cannot remarry. To schedule the court appearance date, ask a Circuit Clerk at the civil motion windows to explain and provide the Notice of Motion (Form 18 E Part 1) and Motion (Form 18 E Part 2) so that the case can be scheduled on the proper court call. The Circuit Clerk can assist you with selecting a court appearance date that is convenient for both you and your spouse to attend. There are no additional fees required to file the Notice and Motion forms.
Family Forms
Adoption Notice - 1B

Form Giving Notice That a Petition Was Filed in Court to Start the Adoption Process

Adoption Notice - 1B

Summons - 1D

This Form is Used to Serve the Necessary Parties During the Adoption Process

Summons - 1D

Divorce Forms