Illinois law summary: Divorce

Below is some information on the Illinois law regarding divorce and legal Separation in Illinois. This Summary will talk about the legal grounds for divorce/dissolution and jurisdiction laws.

Illinois maintains for many fault-based grounds for divorce and one no-fault method.

The legal grounds for dissolution in the state are as follows: An attempt on the life of one spouse by the other, Adultery, Conviction of a felony or other infamous crime, Impotency, Bigamy, Extreme and repeated physical or mental cruelty, Habitual drunkenness or gross and confirmed habits caused by excessive drug addiction for the period of two years, Abandonment for the period of one year, Infection of one spouse by the other spouse with an STD, or the spouses have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of two years and irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and the court determines that efforts at reconciliation have failed, or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impractical and not in the best interests of the family.

If the parties have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of at least six months before the entry of judgment dissolving the marriage, the two year minimum requirement may be waived upon written stipulation of both spouses filed with the court.

Divorce in Illinois is acknowledged as Dissolution of Marriage. To file for Dissolution in Illinois, one of the spouses must have lived in Illinois for at least 90 days. A Petition for Dissolution of Marriage may be filed in the circuit court in the county where either spouse resides. The Plaintiff, the filing spouse, must file a copy of the Petition on the Respondent, the other spouse. The Respondent has 30 days after being served to file an Answer to the Petition.

When dealing with jurisdiction if the filing spouse has been a resident in the state for at least 90 days, but the other spouse never been a resident in Illinois or has never committed an act inside Illinois which would cause him/her to come under the jurisdiction of the court, although a court may grant a divorce, it does not have jurisdiction to order the non-resident spouse to do anything, such as pay child support, transfer property, or pay debts.

Legal separation

If a couple lives separate and apart, any party, without fault, has the right to request and obtain reasonable support and maintenance from the other party. He/she may bring action in circuit court in the county where the Respondent resides or in which the parties last resided together as husband and wife. If the Respondent cannot be found in state, the action may be brought in the circuit court of the county in which the Petitioner lives.

Legal Separation procedures are the same as those for Dissolution of Marriage. A proceeding or judgment for Legal Separation doesn't prohibit either party from seeking an action for Dissolution of Marriage.

To gain more information on this topic you can read our page on Preparing for divorce in Missouri and Illinois: Hiring the right attorney or visit our page about Choosing a Family Law & Divorce Attorney Missouri and Illinois.