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Illinois Divorce



To begin a divorce proceeding in Illinois, at least one spouse must live in the state on the day you file for divorce. Although there is no residency requirement to file for divorce, a judge will not grant a divorce until one spouse has lived in the state for 90 days.

Grounds for Divorce

Illinois requires you to provide a reason (also known as grounds) when filing for divorce. You can get a divorce by stating in the divorce papers that you and your spouse are divorcing because of "irreconcilable differences" and that you've been separated for at least two years. Other grounds for divorce in Illinois include:

  • Impotence
  • Bigamy
  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • One spouse attempted to kill the other spouse by malicious means
  • Mental or physical cruelty
  • Conviction of a felony
  • Infection of the spouse with a sexually transmitted disease
  • Use of addictive drugs for two or more years

Property Division and Spousal Maintenance

In Illinois, all marital property, which included assets and debts acquired during the marriage, is divided "in just proportions" (but not necessarily equally). Separate property, which includes property acquired before the marriage and property obtained during the marriage via gift or inheritance to strictly one spouse, is not subject to equitable distribution.

Under certain conditions, the court will order alimony (commonly known as maintenance) to be paid from one spouse to the other. The length and the amount of support awarded depend on several factors, including the length of the marriage and each spouse's financial situation and earning capacity.

Child Custody and Support

If the parents cannot come to a custody agreement, Illinois law requires the court to make custody decisions based on what is in the best interests of the child. Generally, a parent who is not awarded custody is granted visitation rights.

In Illinois, child support is calculated based on the non-custodial parent's net income and the number of children being supported.

Illinois Divorce Additional Resources

The Illinois State Bar Association Divorce Pamphlet

Illinois Courts for information about the courts in your area

The Illinois Vital Records for copies of marriage and divorce records

The Illinois Child Support Enforcement for information about collecting child support payments