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Illinois Divorce Laws


Illinois Divorce Laws


The court shall enter a judgment of dissolution of marriage if at the time the action was commenced one of the spouses was a resident of this State or was stationed in this State while a member of the armed services, and the residence or military presence had been maintained for 90 days next preceding the commencement of the action or the making of the finding. The proceedings shall be had in the county where the plaintiff or defendant resides. [Based on Illinois Compiled Statutes 750 - Chapter 5 - Sections: 104 and 401]

LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE: No Fault: That the spouses have lived separate and apart for a continuous period in excess of 2 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 impracticable and not in the best interests of the family. If the spouses have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of not less than 6 months next preceding the entry of the judgment dissolving the marriage, as evidenced by testimony or affidavits of the spouses, the requirement of living separate and apart for a continuous period in excess of 2 years may be waived upon written stipulation of both spouses filed with the court.

Fault Grounds: The following grounds for dissolution exist if, without cause or provocation by the petitioner:

  • The respondent was at the time of such marriage, and continues to be naturally impotent naturally impotent.
  • The respondent had a wife or husband living at the time of the marriage.
  • The respondent had committed adultery subsequent to the marriage.
  • The respondent has willfully deserted or absented himself or herself from the petitioner for the space of one year, including any period during which litigation may have pended between the spouses for dissolution of marriage or legal separation.
  • The respondent has been guilty of habitual drunkenness for the space of 2 years.
  • The respondent has been guilty of gross and confirmed habits caused by the excessive use of addictive drugs for the space of 2 years, or has attempted the life of the other by poison or other means showing malice, or has been guilty of extreme and repeated physical or mental cruelty, or has been convicted of a felony or other infamous crime.
  • The respondent has infected the other with a sexually transmitted disease.

[Based on Illinois Compiled Statutes 750 - Chapter 5 - Section: 401]


Any person living separate and apart from his or her spouse without fault may have a remedy for reasonable support and maintenance while they so live apart. Such action shall be brought in the circuit court of the county in which the respondent resides or in which the parties last resided together as husband and wife. In the event the respondent cannot be found within the State, the action may be brought in the circuit court of the county in which the petitioner resides. Commencement of the action, temporary relief and trials shall be the same as in actions for dissolution of marriage. A proceeding or judgment for legal separation shall not bar either party from instituting an action for dissolution of marriage, and if the party so moving has met the requirements of Section 401, a judgment for dissolution shall be granted. [Based on Illinois Compiled Statutes 750 - Chapter 5 - Section: 402]


If the court concludes that there is a prospect of reconciliation, the court, at the request of either party, or on its own motion, may order a conciliation conference. The conciliation conference and counseling shall take place at the established court conciliation service of that judicial district or at any similar service or facility where no court conciliation service has been established.

In an action for dissolution of marriage involving minor children, or in a post-judgment proceeding involving minor children, the court may on its own motion order the parties, excluding the minor children, to attend an educational program concerning the effects of dissolution of marriage on the children, if the court finds that it would be in the best interests of the minor children. [Based on Illinois Compiled Statutes 750 - Chapter 5 - Section: 404 and 401.1]


Illinois is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital property shall be divided equitably, not necessarily equally. For purposes of distribution of property, all property acquired by either spouse after the marriage and before a judgment of dissolution of marriage is presumed to be marital property, regardless of whether title is held individually or by the spouses in some form of co-ownership such as joint tenancy, tenancy in common, tenancy by the entirety, or community property. Marital property shall be divided, without regard to marital misconduct, considering all relevant factors, including:

  • 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 post-nuptial 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.
  • 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 circumstances of the parties.

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