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How to Get an Illinois Divorce

If you are thinking about a divorce, Illinois divorce is no more difficult than anywhere else, but learning the basics will make the process go a bit smoother. If you and your spouse have decided to file for an Illinois divorce, at least one of you must be an Illinois resident to file for a divorce, or dissolution, of your marriage.

If you and your spouse have been separated for more than two years, you can file for divorce by stating that "irreconcilable differences" led to a breakdown in the marriage. However, if both you and your spouse agree that there should be a divorce, your marriage can be ended after only six months of separation through a written agreement, or stipulation.

Grounds for Illinois Divorce

For couples who have been separated for less than two years where one spouse does not want a divorce, the spouse who wants the divorce must prove a grounds, or reason, for divorce. Some of the grounds for divorce include:

  • Impotence
  • Bigamy
  • Adultery
  • The spouse who does not want the divorce has attempted to kill the spouse who wants the divorce
  • Infection with a sexually transmitted disease
  • Drug addiction

Illinois Divorce Process

The Illinois divorce process begins when one spouse files the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Precipice for Summons with the circuit court. The other spouse is served with the divorce papers and given time to respond.

If both parties can agree on the division of property and debt, child custody, and support, the divorce may be granted without a trial. If you and your spouse cannot agree, the court will set a time for a hearing for you to attend with your spouse and your Illinois divorce lawyer. The court may be able to grant temporary custody or child support orders before the divorce is finalized.

Illinois Alimony

The court may order alimony, or maintenance as it is called in Illinois. This monthly payment is to support one spouse financially.

In determining alimony, the court will consider your income and your spouse's, as well as your abilities to meet your financial needs, how long you were married, how long it may take either spouse to retrain or find employment, and any kind of previous financial agreement you made with your spouse. The court may be able to order temporary maintenance while you wait for your Illinois divorce to become legal.

Illinois Child Custody and Support

An Illinois divorce judge will make a decision on child custody based on the "best interest" of the child if you and your spouse cannot agree on custody. When the court decides on which parent should spend more time with the child, some of the factors considered include:

  • The strength of each child's relationship with each parent and siblings
  • How well-adjusted the child is to his or her home, school, and community
  • The mental and physical health of both the children and the parents
  • Any physical violence by either parent that may have been witnessed by the child
  • How willing and able each parent is to continue a close relationship with the other parent and the child
  • Each parent's wishes
  • The preferences of a child who is old enough and mature enough to express his or her wishes

Illinois Divorce Forms

Illinois divorce lawyers will help you with the divorce process, but you can look at Illinois divorce forms to get an idea of what is in store for you.