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

Deciding to file for divorce is difficult, but once you’ve made the decision, chances are you’re ready to move on with your life. 

Unfortunately, it isn’t quite that simple under Illinois divorce law.

When clients approach us for legal help with their divorce, they often want to know how long they must be separated from their spouse before they can formally file. 

While that’s an important thing to consider, there are a few different criteria that you must meet before filing for divorce. From our experienced Illinois divorce attorneys at Diamond Divorce Law, here’s a look at the requirements, as well as what to do if you want to move out of the state after your divorce.

Criteria for filing for divorce in Illinois

In order to file for divorce in Illinois, there are some criteria you’ll need to meet. Here are the elements you’ll need to take into consideration:

  • You must be separated from your spouse for at least six months. Separation does not necessarily mean that one of the spouses must move out of the family home. You just must show that you lived independently of one another for those six months. However, if both spouses agree, this requirement can be waived so that you can move on with your divorce promptly. There are other extenuating circumstances where the six-month separation can be waived.  You may want to discuss these matters with your Illinois divorce lawyer.
  • There are residency requirements.  In addition to the separation requirement, to be eligible for a divorce in Illinois, at least one of you (you or your spouse) need to be a resident of the State at the time of filing and need to have maintained a residence in the State of Illinois for at least 90 days preceding the date the court finalizes the divorce. 
  • In some states, you have to prove that one of you is at-fault for the marriage dissolving (failing). However, this is NOT required in Illinois. Illinois is a no-fault divorce state meaning you do not need to prove any sort of reason for the divorce if you’ve met the other criteria. Your only grounds for divorce within the state is that you have “irreconcilable differences.” The allegation of irreconcilable differences is generally written in divorce documents as follows:

“Irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and efforts at reconciliation have failed and future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of all concerned parties.”

Considerations when evaluating a divorce

Once a couple has lived together and built joint finances, adjusting your lifestyle for a divorce can be difficult. With time, the change is often good for couples who are struggling to get along or don’t see eye to eye.

There are a variety of considerations you should keep in mind if you’re deciding whether or not a divorce is right for you, such as:

  • Your annual income compared with your spouse’s annual income. Create a budget to ensure you can live on your own confidently if you leave your spouse.
  • If you have children, evaluate whether or not you’re comfortable moving to a shared custody situation. In most cases, the courts will strive to find a custody balance between you and your ex-spouse. Parenting time can be a hotly debated topic, but the courts will try to arrive at a situation that is fair to all parties and in the best interests of the children.  Be prepared to share parenting time of your children with your ex. 
  • Without a prenuptial agreement, you’ll need to divide your assets between you and your spouse. This can include a business.  It is important to distinguish between what assets are non-marital and what assets are marital.
  • In your division of assets conversations during divorce, there are many options for how to divide a home or other property. One way is selling the home and splitting the proceeds with your ex-spouse. It’s crucial that you hire a divorce attorney if keeping your home is important to you. 

While these are should be taken into account when you are considering a divorce, know that a skilled attorney can work with you to set your priorities in divorce and ensure you get the assets and results you want from your divorce proceedings. 

Hiring a McHenry, Illinois divorce attorney

Even divorces that seem simple on the surface can have complications. The best way to ensure a quick and simple divorce process is to hire an Illinois divorce attorney. Your attorney will review your situation, your assets and all information related to your divorce case to create a plan of action that ensures you keep the way of life that’s important to you.

Diamond Divorce Law offers a team of experienced divorce attorneys that will guide you through your divorce. Contact us to learn more about our services.

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