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The Basics of Illinois Divorce Law

Illinois divorce law allows anyone who has been a resident (or whose spouse has been a resident) for at least 90 days to file for divorce in Illinois. Illinois residents may file for divorce in the state, and Illinois law also applies the same residency requirements to spouses stationed in the military in Illinois.

Illinois Divorce Law: Grounds for Divorce

Under Illinois divorce law, grounds for divorce may be no fault or fault.

No-Fault Divorce

Spouses may obtain a no-fault divorce for irreconcilable differences if they have lived separate and apart for two years or more. An Illinois court may allow parties to divorce if they have been separated for six months or more in certain circumstances.

Fault Grounds

Under Illinois law, any one of the following may be grounds, or reasons, for divorce:

  • If one spouse is impotent
  • If one spouse was already married at the time of the marriage
  • If one spouse has committed adultery
  • If one spouse has abandoned the other for one year or more
  • If one spouse habitually abuses drugs or alcohol for two years or more
  • If one spouse commits physical or mental cruelty to the other
  • If one spouse tries to murder the other
  • If one spouse is convicted of a felony
  • If one spouse gives the other a sexually transmitted disease

Property Distribution

Illinois is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital property in a divorce will be divided equitably, Equitably means fairly, but does not necessarily mean 50-50. All property acquired after the marriage is presumed to be marital property. Under Illinois divorce law, marital property is divided regardless of fault in the divorce. An Illinois divorce court will consider factors such as the contribution of each spouse to marital property, the length of the marriage, and each spouses economic circumstances.


Either spouse may receive alimony from the other, without regard to fault in the divorce. In calculating alimony, Illinois law takes into account factors, including the length of the marriage, the spouses standard of living, and each spouses earning potential.

Child Custody and Child Support

An Illinois divorce court decides child custody in accordance with thebest interests of the child. In determining the child's best interests, courts must consider certain factors, including:

  • The parents and childs wishes
  • The parents and childs health
  • How the child interacts with both parents and other people living in the home, including siblings
  • How well the child has adjusted to a home and the community
  • How willing each parent is to encourage a healthy, loving relationship between the child and other parent.

Under Illinois law, child support is based on the paying spouses net income and the number of children in the family. The general guidelines are:

  • 20% of net income for one child
  • 28% of net income for two children
  • 32 % of net income for three children
  • 40% of net income for four children
  • 45% of net income for five children
  • 50% of net income for six or more children

Illinois divorce attorneys can provide you with additional information about the state's divorce laws and offer advice for your specific situation.