Illinois Illinois

Divorce Law Guide

Illinois Divorce Overview

Residency Requirement
Living Separate & Apart
Processing Time
Filing Fee
3 months
24 months
180 days

The facts about divorce in Illinois

Divorce, or dissolution of marriage, is the legal process of severing a marriage contract, which is overseen by a court of law in the state in which one or both of the divorcing spouses live. The process for getting a divorce and acceptible grounds for divorce vary from state to state.

In Illinois, a divorce can be completed on average in a minimum of 180 days, with court fees of $337.00. The state has divorce residency requirements that require the spouse filing for the divorce to have lived in Illinois for a minimum of three months.

On this page, you can learn about Illinois' grounds for divorce, how the divorce process works, and about other parts of the divorce process, such as Illinois alimony calculation, the property division process and more.

Illinois Divorce Law Summary

What is the Criteria for Divorce?

Illinois is not an easy state. Though they both have a no-fault and fault option, to file for a no-fault divorce requires the spouses to have been living separately for a minimum of 2 years.

What if the Fault Option is Pursued?

If the fault option is wanted, Illinois only recognizes the reasons to be: naturally impotent, a spouse was already married, adultery, willful desertion, habitual drunkenness, massive drug addiction for a space of 2 years, extreme and repeated physical and/or mental abuse, convicted of a felony, infected spouse with a sexually transmitted disease.

Once the documentation is submitted, the courts will handle and go through the process depending on the option chosen. It is important that through this procedure a legal counselor is considered. Illinois has a ton of material and steps required to get the divorce finalized.

Illinois Divorce Guide - Frequently Asked Questions

In state of Illinois a number of factors are taken into account when ending a marriage.

1. Illinois Grounds for Divorce FAQ

Is Illinois a no-fault divorce state?

Illinois allows no-fault divorces, which means that a divorce is granted without establishing the fault of either spouse for causing the divorce. Grounds for a no-fault divorce in Illinois may be "irreconcilable differences", or similar grounds.

Does Illinois allow at-fault divorces?

In addition to no-fault grounds for divorce, Illinois is a fault divorce state which provides the option to file for a traditional at-fault divorce. Suing for an at-fault divorce alleges that the filer's spouse is the cause of the divorce due to engaging in one of Illinois' at-fault divorce grounds, such as adultery, abuse, or insanity.

In some cases, an at-fault divorce is pursued because it can entitle the suing spouse to a greater share of marital property or even punitive alimony payments if their partner's fault is proven. If their spouse contests these allegations, they may be challenged in court, which can lead to a lengthy and expensive legal process.

Does the state of Illinois allow incompatibility as grounds for divorce?

Yes, Illinois does allow incompatibility to be used as grounds for having a divorce.

Can you get a divorce in Illinois for living separate and apart?

In divorce law, "living seperate and apart" refers to married spouses who are living separate from each other, not engaging in a traditional marital relationship, and do not intend to repair the marriage.

In Illinois, married couples who have been living separate and apart for a minimum of 24 months may be granted a divorce on these grounds when sued for by either spouse.

2. Illinois Divorce Process FAQ

Does state of Illinois allow legal separation?

Legal separation (otherwise known as "judicial separation") is a legal process that enables spouses to be de facto separated while remaining legally married.

In some cases, Illinois will grant a judicial separation court order to a married couple who wishes to live separately. This order may settle issues generally handled in a divorce such as property division and alimony. A legal separation may be followed up by a full divorce, or the spouses may later reconcile and end the separation while remaining legally married.

What's the difference between a divorce and an annulment in Illinois?

While a divorce is the process of exiting a legally valid marriage, an annulment is the process of rendering a marriage null and void. An annulment makes it legally as if a marriage never took place to begin with.

Generally, annulment is used to conclude a marriage that should not have been legally recognized in the first place, such as a marriage where one of the spouses was unable to consent (by virtue of being underage, due to mental incapacity, or even intoxication), a marriage that was entered into under duress or via fraudulent means, or when one of the spouses was already legally married.

How long do I have to live in in the state of Illinois to get a divorce?

The state of Illinois requires that spouses suing for divorce to have lived in the state for a minimum of three months prior to filing divorce papers. Otherwise, Illinois courts are not considered to have jurisdiction over the divorce case.

What is the filing fee for a divorce in Illinois?

The court fees for filing the paperwork for a basic divorce in a Illinois court is $337.00. However, the total costs for a divorce can be much higher - especially in the case of a contested divorce, where attorney fees and mediation costs average from $15,000 to $20,000 or more.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Illinois?

If the process moves along without holdups, the paperwork for a divorce in Illinois can be processed in a minimum of 180 days. However, if the spouses are not in agreement about the divorce process, a contested divorce can take significantly longer.

3. Illinois General Divorce FAQ

Can my spouse stop me from getting a divorce?

Even if one spouse is opposed to getting a divorce, they cannot stop their partner from filing for and receiving a divorce in Illinois. While filing a non-contested joint petition for divorce speeds up the process, either spouse can file for divorce individually at any time.

Illinois permits spouses to sue for an at-fault divorce, and in this case their partner can contest the allegations in court. A non-fault petition for divorce, however, can generally not be contested by an unwilling spouse in Illinois.

Does Illinois have any limitations on remarriage after a divorce?

Illinois has no mandatory waiting period between the finalization of a divorce and either of the ex-spouses getting remarried. Remarriage following a divorce may affect the continued payment of alimony.

What is the divorce rate in Illinois?

According to the most recent CDC study, the yearly divorce rate in Illinois is 8 per 1,000 total population. The national divorce rate is 6.9 per 1,000 total population. Various studies suggest that nationwide, 30% to 50% of all marriages end in divorce.

Does Illinois recognize same sex divorces?

Since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide in 2015, all states that previously did not allow same sex marriages, including Illinois, are required by federal law to perform both same sex marriages and same sex divorces. In some cases, court forms or procedures may still need to be updated to support same sex couples.

| State Law Official Text

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