Illinois Divorce Law & Process – Attorneys & Family Lawyers IL


The divorce process in Illinois takes a minimum of 90 days due to the waiting period stipulated  in Illinois divorce law. Grounds for divorce can be either fault or non-fault and one of the spouses must have been an IL resident for at least 90 days in order to file for divorce. The divorce cost in Illinois for a simple uncontested divorce depends on the county filing fees which are around $300. However, the actual cost of divorce can vary considerably if your case is more complex and requires significant attorney time.

Illinois has a divorce rate of 3.2% per 1,000 of the population, Illinois is a conservative state in the country and this figure is below average. Illinois is one of a those states where there are both fault-based grounds for divorce are followed and no-fault grounds. For a fault divorce, the court decree cannot go in favor or against anyone until the  grounds are satisfied before the divorce court. This can take considerable time depending on the complexity and thus the cost of the divorce will likely be higher. The same is true for a contested divorce, whereby both parties cannot reach an agreement – the divorce costs in Illinois will increase with complexity.

Like most of the states of the US, annulments are also rare in Illinois. The annulment grounds are seldom met and therefore annulment cases are infrequently petitioned.

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Divorce Grounds in Illinois

Following are the major divorce grounds in Illinois:

Irreconcilable Differences

The basic aim of marriage is to establish a mutual relationship. Irreconcilable differences can affect marriages adversely. If you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences, you can claim divorce legally using this divorce ground in Illinois.


If your spouse is impotent, you have a right to seek divorce.


If your spouse has married you while he or she is already married, the marriage will be considered void and bigamous. This divorce ground in Illinois is constituted for the victim spouses to divorce the accountable ones.


Like other states, adultery is a divorce ground in Illinois too.


Desertion by a spouse, with no contact whatsoever, is a legitimate divorce ground in Illinois.

Habitual Drunkenness

If your spouse is a habitual drunkard, you can claim divorce. But this divorce grounds in Illinois will be valid only if your husband or wife has been a habitual drunkard for 2 or more years.

Attempt on the life

Attempt on your life by your spouse entitles you to divorce him or her.

Extreme and Repeated Physical Cruelty

Under this divorce ground in Illinois, a spouse can divorce his or her partner if he or she is bearing physical abuse.

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Extreme and Repeated Mental Cruelty

Likewise if your spouse is verbally abusing you thus making you go through mental torture, you can file for divorce.

Conviction of a Felony or Other Infamous Crimes

Involvement of a spouse in any crime negatively affects the marriage life. You can seek divorce if your spouse in engaged in suchlike activities.

Infecting the Other Spouse with STD

Infection of a spouse with an STD disease is a legitimate divorce ground in Illinois. If you think your spouse can infect you with the STD disease, you can file for divorce.

Contact a professional divorce attorney or divorce lawyer for detailed information regarding divorce grounds in Illinois.

Illinois Divorce Law

Illinois has following divorce laws:


Awareness of the residency requirements before filing for divorce is very important. Illinois divorce laws require the claimant to be a resident of Illinois for at least 90 days. Moreover, the process of dissolution should be carried out in a county where either the spouse lives.

Documents required filing divorce

According to Illinois divorce laws two essential documents are needed to conclude dissolution of marriage. They are:

  • Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and
  • Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage

There are some other documents needed as well to file during the process, they include:

  • Verification Statement
  • Waiver of Two Year Statutory Period of Separation
  • Financial Disclosure Statement
  • Entry of Appearance
  • Waiver
  • Consent.

Distribution of Property

According to Illinois divorce laws, property in Illinois is divided on equitable distribution basis. This mean not just equally but fairly. All the community property is subjected to distribution except for that owned before the marriage or gifted by either spouse.

Change of Name or Restoration of Name

The wife can request for the restoration of her maiden name in her petition for dissolution of marriage.

Mediation Counseling

Mediation counseling is required if the court finds out that there is a hope of reconciliation. The court may order a conciliation conference upon:

  • The request of either party or,
  • Its own motion


Illinois divorce laws may dictate a permanent or temporary alimony if the court feels it is required. Various financial factors are taken into account by the court, before this decision is made.

Illinois State considers these following types of alimony.

Temporary alimony is paid from one spouse to the other during the trial period or before the divorce is finalized.

Illinois Annulment Laws

Annulment is the court’s decree nullifying the validity of a marriage while divorce is the termination of a legal marriage. Divorce is a preferred option because it is difficult to prove the grounds for annulment set by Illinois annulment laws. Following are the legal annulment grounds according to the Illinois annulment laws:

Bigamy and Polygamy

One person can not have more than one spouse; both bigamy and polygamy are not recognized by the laws of Illinois. In both cases you can file for annulment according to the Illinois annulment laws.

Same-Sex Marriage

Same-sex marriages are prohibited in Illinois. These marriages are considered null and void and can be annulled under Illinois annulment laws.


Consanguinity is also a lawful Illinois annulment ground. Under Illinois annulment laws, you can get annulment if your spouse is a close relation like father, mother, sister, uncle or aunt.

Underage Marriage

Illinois laws strictly restrict the marriages of children who are under 17 years of age without the consent of parents, guardian or the court. Such marriages can be annulled under Illinois annulment laws.

Illinois Divorce Law – Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long must I have lived in Illinois to file for divorce?

    According to the provisions of the Illinois divorce law you are required at minimum to be a resident of the State for at least 90 days before being able to file for divorce.

  2. What if my spouse doesn’t live in Illinois?

    Under the Illinois divorce law there are no requirements for your spouse to live in Illinois. However, this complicates the divorce process.

  3. How does this complicate my divorce process?

    Your spouse needs to be served with divorce papers to inform him/her of the divorce complaint that you have filed in Illinois. Now you will need a server to serve this notice requiring more paper work and more time.

  4. How long will it take for me get my divorce?

    Each divorce case is unique and there really is no formula to calculate the time your divorce will take to be settled. The more complicated the divorce, the more time it will take to be decreed by the court.

  5. What is the court filing fee for divorce in the State of Illinois?

    The court filing fee for divorce depends on the county of Illinois that you are living in. Expect to pay around $300.

  6. How do divorce attorneys in Illinois charge their clients?

    Most Illinois divorce lawyers have an hourly rate that they charge their clients on.

  7. What is the divorce cost in Illinois?

    Each divorce case is unique and the costs depends on the time it takes to settle your divorce and the hourly rate that your Illinois divorce lawyer charges.There are also divorce filing fees for which the cost varies per county.

  8. Do I really require the services of an Illinois divorce lawyer?

    Yes, you require an Illinois divorce lawyer since he/she understands the divorce process much better. The law does allow you to represent yourself in the court but that is not advisable.

  9. Can my spouse and I hire the same Illinois divorce lawyer in order to save money?

    No, it is not possible for any Illinois divorce lawyer to represent both of the spouses in court. It is possible to hire the same Illinois divorce lawyer to prepare the divorce papers for both the spouses.

  10. Is a common law marriage legally recognized in Illinois?

    No, Illinois doesn’t recognize common law marriages.

  11. Is Illinois a No-Fault State?

    Yes, Illinois is a no fault State. However, in Illinois you can also file for divorce on grounds. No fault divorces finish faster.

  12. How long does a couple have to be separated before being decreed as divorced?

    If both the spouses have agreed to a separation and the divorce is irretrievably broken on no fault grounds then the Illinois divorce law requires a 2 year separation. In certain cases this period has been reduced to 6 months.

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