Book My Consult3

Spousal Abandonment in Illinois

In Illinois, you do not need to prove spousal abandonment to get a divorce. This is because Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, so you do not need to prove you have grounds to file. Abandonment has minimal impact on divorce. But proof of abandonment can impact child custody proceedings.

No one deserves to be abandoned–left alone to fend for themselves where they were once supported.

If your spouse abandoned you and you don't want to be married anymore, you have grounds to file for a divorce.

How exactly does the court define abandonment though? And how will it affect your divorce case? These questions and more are answered below.

Defining Marital Abandonment in Illinois

Marital abandonment is when a spouse purposely leaves their family and doesn’t provide financial, emotional, or physical support. Previously, this was called willful desertion or unexplained absence.

If you get abandoned, you are able to file for a divorce. But you do not need to prove abandonment to get a divorce. Because Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, you can get a divorce for just about any reason. If a party believes the marriage cannot be fixed, they are able to file for a divorce.

Sometimes, people need to leave their situations for their own safety. That is why there are two types of abandonment.

Criminal Abandonment vs. Constructive Abandonment

Criminal abandonment is when a spouse refuses to provide care, financial support, or protection to a terminally ill or incapacitated spouse or child without just cause. Even in fault-based states, this is cause for a divorce.

Constructive abandonment is when someone leaves because the other party created an unbearable living environment. Essentially, it is constructive when the party is justified in their leaving. This could be due to things like emotional abuse, physical abuse, or an unsafe environment.

How Does Abandonment Affect a Divorce in Illinois?

Since Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, abandonment has very little effect on a divorce. Abandonment cannot impact property division, calculation of alimony, and a variety of other things. However, abandonment can impact decisions of child custody and placement.

Custody is awarded based on a child’s best interest. So, allegations of abandonment can work to prove that it is not in the child’s best interest to be placed with someone who abandoned their family. This can also impact child support because a main factor in calculating child support is parenting time.

Under Illinois law, if one party abandons their family, the other party has custody of the children until the court decides otherwise.[1]

Abandonment as Grounds for Divorce

Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, so you do not need to prove abandonment to file for divorce. But if you are abandoned, that may be the reason you want to get a divorce. If you want a divorce, speak with a family law attorney from Sterling Lawyers, LLC to get started.

The only grounds you need to get a divorce is the belief that your marriage is irretrievably broken.

For Immediate help with your family law case or answering any questions please call (312) 757-8082 now!


Can I Kick My Spouse Out of the House?

Either party can leave if they want to, but they cannot be forced to leave without a court order. Under Illinois law, neither party can remove the other from their home without their consent. They can only remove the other party if the one staying provides a separate suitable home for the one leaving.[2]

My Wife Wants Me to Move Out of the House. Should I?

It depends on your exact situation. If you have children, you shouldn’t leave the house unless it is an unsafe situation. Also, if you want to keep the house, it may be better to stay there so that the other party doesn’t have more claim to it than you do.

My Spouse Voluntarily Left the House and Is Living Someplace Else. Can I Change the Locks?

Technically, even if they leave, the house is still a marital asset. But if you need to change the locks for your own safety, you can. The best thing to do is file to start your divorce or separation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered marital abandonment in Illinois?

Marital abandonment is when one party in a marriage leaves the other without supporting them. Different states have different criteria for what abandonment looks like. Illinois doesn't have any specific criteria because you do not need to prove abandonment to have grounds for a divorce.

How long is considered abandonment in Illinois?

A person commits child abandonment when they leave their child without supervision for 24 hours or more. Marital abandonment does not have a time limit because you do not need to prove abandonment in court.

How does abandonment affect a divorce?

Abandonment only affects child custody. It has no impact on property division or alimony. It only impacts child custody because Illinois is a no-fault divorce state.

How do you prove desertion in a divorce?

You do not need to prove desertion in Illinois. If you did, you could do so through things like financial records and documents proving where each party lived. When some people think of desertion, they may be looking to know what happens in cases of adultery.

Is Illinois an at-fault state for divorce?

No, Illinois is a no-fault divorce state. This means all you need to file for a divorce is to believe that the marriage cannot be fixed. Before it was a no-fault divorce state, you’d have to prove why the marriage was no longer viable.

References: 1. 750 ILCS § 65/16. Rights of Married Persons Act. | 2. 750 ILCS § 65/16.

Book My Consult