Legal Grounds to File for Divorce in Illinois

What does “no-fault” mean? It means that traditional grounds for divorce such as impotency or adultery can't be used in court.

Under the new law, the only grounds for divorce that one can cite are “irreconcilable differences”. In other words, you and your spouse have differences that have caused the marriage to break down, your past attempts to improve or fix your situation didn't work, and no amount of future effort to repair the marriage would be effective. The “why” your marriage broke down isn't legally considered, only that for whatever reason your marriage isn't working and can't be repaired.

One thing the court will take into account is if both parties explicitly agree the marriage has broken down. If all aspects of the divorce case are uncontested by both sides, then there's no waiting period or required separation period before a divorce case can be filed.

Conversely, if both sides can't agree that the marriage has broken down, the court may require them to be separate for up to six months before filing for divorce in an attempt to give them a chance reconcile their differences. Being “separate” in this case does not mean physically living apart necessarily. Even if a couple is living at the same address, but are not living together as one unit it would be considered as living separately.

Another way Illinois is different from some states is their recognition of civil unions. Prior to the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling in 2015, same-sex couples (and opposite-sex couples) were afforded similar rights in Illinois as well as similar divorce rights due to Illinois stance on civil unions. Although couples who have a civil union do not have the exact same rights as married couples, a civil union is dissolved in a manner similar to the dissolution of a marriage.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the grounds for divorce in Illinois?

Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, so proving grounds for divorce is not hard. All you need is to say that the marriage is irretrievably broken. If you need to prove it is broken, you can do so by separating from your spouse for six months.

How long do you have to be separated in Illinois to get divorced?

You need to be separated for six months to get a divorce in Illinois. The separation period is only needed when a spouse tries to refuse to get a divorce.
Separation does not have to mean living in different homes. Many people do not have the financial privilege to do that, so living separately can mean something like sleeping in separate rooms.

Is Illinois a 50/50 state when it comes to divorce?

Illinois is not a 50/50 state for property division in divorce. The property division laws outline that Illinois is an equitable division state. This means that the court separates property based on what they think each party deserves rather than just down the middle.

What is the wife entitled to in divorce Illinois?

The only thing each party is entitled to is the non-marital property that goes directly to them. Otherwise, everything else depends on the circumstances of the case. A party may be entitled to alimony if they have been married a long time. Or a party may be entitled to the house if it was theirs before the marriage and the marriage only lasted a couple months

Who gets the house in a divorce in Illinois?

Who gets the house depends on when the house was bought, who lived in it, and for how long. If a house was the marital home for 20 years, it will be split as a marital asset. To split a house, either the house is sold or one party is bought out of their share.

How many years do you have to be married in Illinois to get alimony?

There is no set number of years where a party is entitled to alimony. Rather, the longer parties are married, the more likely alimony is to be ordered. But other factors are looked at as well, such as earning capacity and property division.