Contested divorce in the Windy City, in which child custody or division of property is at issue, usually requires the services of a divorce attorney in Chicago; but uncontested divorce is much simpler and often can be handled "pro se" (which literally translates to "for himself"), according to a manual compiled by The Self Help Legal Center at the Southern Illinois University School of Law.
The first considerations have to do with the jurisdictional requirements and grounds for divorce, according to the self-help guide. It is not a requirement that the marriage took place in Illinois, but one of the spouses must be a resident of the state for at least 90 days before filling a petition for dissolution of marriage.
As with most states, Illinois has "no-fault" divorce, which FindLaw defines as follows:
Although proving fault is not required in Illinois, those wishing to divorce must provide some grounds for the dissolution, if only the relatively simple reason of "irreconcilable differences," according to Illinois Lawyer Finder. The term "no-fault" legally refers to the way money or property is split, regardless of actual fault, according to Illinois Lawyer Finder.
"No-fault" divorce describes any divorce where the spouse asking for a divorce does not have to prove that the other spouse did something wrong.
Marriages of fewer than eight years where household income does not exceed $35,000 may be legally dissolved by filling out a three-document dissolution of marriage process (see Related Resources section), according to the Southern Illinois School of Law pamphlet. A judge simply signs a judgment form and the divorce is granted.
Divorces in surrounding counties offer their own versions of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, according to the pamphlet.
Those earning more than $35,000 but still wish to handle their own uncontested divorce can still draft their own petition for dissolution of marriage, according to Illinois Lawyer Finder, which is then filed with the circuit court clerk and served on the other spouse.
Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, Instructions (PDF, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois)
Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, Forms (PDF, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois)
Uncontested Divorce: When Is It Appropriate? (FindLaw KnowledgeBase)