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Legal Requirements for Divorce in Illinois

Judith Trentman Wilson, Attorney at Law, P.C. Dec. 15, 2020

Making the decision to divorce one’s spouse is most likely a difficult one and taken after a lot of deliberation. Even though an Illinois resident has probably taken a lot of time to make this decision, once it is made, people are likely to want to proceed quickly. However, there are certain requirements that must be met in order to be eligible to file for divorce in the state.

Grounds and Separation Requirement for Divorce

Until 2016, there were 10 “fault” based grounds for divorce in the state. However, in 2016 all of these were eliminated and irreconcilable grounds were all that remained. Therefore, the divorce can be on this ground only.

The couple must have lived separately for six months before filing for divorce. This waiting period is also an opportunity for the couple to reconsider their decision to separate from one another and cool down, if need be. Waiting may not always work for everyone, which is why this requirement may be waived by written agreement.

Steps for Divorce

The couple must gather the necessary forms, the requisite information and file the completed forms in the court in the eligible county. Spouses need to be served and financial disclosure needs to be made. Financial disclosure means every party has to make a list of their mortgage, assets, debts, bills, income and other relevant information. Courts usually use this information to make property division, alimony and spousal support decisions.

There are often a lot of unknowns on the journey to finalizing one’s divorce and one way to get as much clarity as possible is to consult an experienced attorney. He or she can provide guidance that is unique to one’s individual circumstances.