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What requirements must you meet to divorce in Illinois?

In the United States, every state has its own requirements that you must follow before pursuing a divorce. Illinois is no different in this respect. 

Illinois used to require spouses to provide the grounds on which they were seeking a divorce, but the state eliminated a spouse’s obligation to do so in 2016. Illinois is now a no-fault divorce state, so now there’s a presumption that an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage is the only reason for the petition. 

Since the grounds for the divorce is no longer an issue, spouses aren’t faced with proving their reason for ending their marriage. However, they still have one more obligation to meet to move forward with their divorce: They have to meet residency and separation requirements. 

Illinois residency and separation divorce requirements

State law requires either you, your spouse or both of you to reside in the state 90 days or more prior to filing for divorce. There are often exceptions to the residency requirements outlined above if you’re an armed forces member. 

You must also have been separated for at least six months before initiating divorce proceedings here in Illinois. The state thinks of this as a “cooling down period” during which you and your spouse can reflect on your decision to divorce and potentially reconcile. You do have an option to expedite your divorce proceedings instead of having to wait those statutory six months if you and your spouse mutually agree to do so and commemorate your desire to waive that waiting period in writing. 

What can I expect as I move forward with the divorce process?

Once you’ve determined that you meet the residency and separation requirements for an Illinois divorce, you’ll want to begin gathering together all the important documentation that will come in handy as you begin negotiating a settlement agreement between you and your spouse. It may be best if you begin compiling this information before letting your husband or wife know of your intentions to end your marriage. 

Coming up with a strategy for filing for a divorce and negotiating a settlement in your case is something that you’ll want to do early on. It may make a big difference in the outcome of your case if you do.

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