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Illinois - Divorce Requirements
The following information is to provide a basic understanding of the various aspects of Illinois divorce.

Click here for more specific information regarding Illinois divorce laws.

Every effort has been made to assure that the information contained in these pages is accurate however, due to the ever changing nature of the law some material may be outdated or may no longer apply.

Residency Requirements Illinois laws require at least one spouse to be a resident of the state of Illinois for 90 days to file for divorce
Where to File File the divorce documents in the county where you live, or the county where your spouse lives
Grounds for Divorce Illinois has no fault divorce laws based on living separate and apart for six (6) months, if both parties agree in writing. If only one spouse brings the action for divorce, the laws for living separate and apart require a period of two (2) years. In addition to no fault grounds, Illinois laws also allow the following fault grounds for divorce:
  • Impotency
  • Adultery
  • Willful desertion or abandonment for at least one (1) year
  • Habitual drunkenness for at least one year
  • Gross habits caused by excessive use of addictive drugs for two (2) years
  • Attempting the life of another
  • Extreme and repeated physical or mental cruelty
  • Conviction of a felony
  • Infecting the other spouse with a sexually transmitted disease
Voluntary or required mediation Yes
Voluntary or recommended CounselingYes
Property Distribution Each spouse's non-marital property is awarded to the spouse who it belongs to. The division of marital property is done without regard to marital misconduct, considering the following relevant factors:
  • The contribution of each party to the acquisition, preservation, or increase or decrease in value of the marital or non-marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker or to the family unit
  • The dissipation by each party of the marital or non-marital property
  • The value of the property assigned to each spouse
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The relevant economic circumstances of each spouse when the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home, or the right to live therein for reasonable periods, to the spouse having custody of the children
  • Any obligations and rights arising from a prior marriage of either party
  • Any antenuptial agreement of the parties
  • The age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each of the parties
  • The custodial provisions for any children
  • Whether the apportionment is in lieu of or in addition to maintenance (alimony)
  • The reasonable opportunity of each spouse for future acquisition of capital assets and income
  • The tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic considerations of the parties
Child Custody The court shall determine custody in accordance with the best interest of the child. The court shall consider all relevant factors including the following guidelines:
  • The wishes of the child's parent or parents as to custody of the child
  • The wishes of the child as to custody
  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his parent or parents, his siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest
  • The child's adjustment to his home, school and community
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
  • The physical violence or threat of physical violence by the child's potential custodian, whether directed against the child or directed against another person
  • The occurrence of ongoing abuse as defined in Section 103 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, whether directed against the child or directed against another person
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child
The court doesn't consider conduct of a present or proposed custodian that does not affect the relationship to the child

Unless the court finds the occurrence of ongoing abuse, it shall presume that the maximum involvement and cooperation of both parents regarding the physical, mental, moral, and emotional well-being of their child is in the best interest of the child. There shall be no presumption in favor of or against joint custody but upon the application of either or both parents, or upon its own motion, the court shall consider an award of joint custody. The court may enter an order of joint custody if it determines that joint custody would be in the best interests of the child, taking into account the following:
  • The ability of the parents to cooperate effectively and consistently in matters that directly affect the joint parenting of the child. "Ability of the parents to cooperate" means the parents' capacity to substantially comply with a Joint Parenting Order. The court shall not consider the inability of the parents to cooperate effectively and consistently in matters that do not directly affect the joint parenting of the child
  • The residential circumstances of each parent
  • All other factors which may be relevant to the best interest of the child
Child Support Child support is determined by Illinois statutes. Those laws use a percentage of the paying spouse's net income, after certain specified deductions, as the basis for the child support calculation.

If the court deviates from these child support guidelines, it must make a written finding why the deviation is appropriate, based on the following laws:
  • The financial resources and needs of the child
  • The financial resources and needs of the custodial parent
  • The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved
  • The physical and emotional condition of the child, and his educational needs
  • The financial resources and needs of the non-custodial parent
Spousal Support Illinois laws allow for temporary or permanent maintenance (alimony) award if requested. Marital misconduct is not considered in the alimony guidelines. Illinois laws list the following factors to be considered by the court:
  • The income and property of each party, including marital property apportioned and non-marital property assigned to the party seeking alimony
  • The needs of each party
  • The present and future earning capacity of each party
  • Any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance due to that party devoting time to domestic duties or having forgone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities due to the marriage
  • The time necessary to enable the party seeking maintenance to acquire appropriate education, training, and employment, and whether that party is able to support himself or herself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child making it appropriate that the custodian not seek employment
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age and physical and emotional condition of both parties
  • The tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties
  • Contributions and services by the party seeking alimony to the education, training, career or career potential, or license of the other spouse
  • Any valid agreement of the parties
  • Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable