Law Offices of Robert M. Kaplan, P.C.
Schaumburg Family Law Attorney

What Does it Take to Get a Divorce in Illinois?

August 14, 2020
Posted By: Robert M. Kaplan
Young girl covering ears while parents argue behind her

Most of us work hard to make our marriages successful, but sometimes, it’s best to leave a toxic partner or relationship behind.

If you’re contemplating ending your marriage and getting a divorce in Illinois, you may have questions about the legal process. 

Although it’s possible to file for divorce on your own and without the help of an attorney, marriage dissolution can be complicated and usually comes with countless forms to fill out and file with the court. For this reason, you will probably prefer to work alongside an experienced divorce lawyer who can answer your questions and accompany you to court as needed. 

Below, we talk briefly about a few of the critical components of divorce in Illinois:

#1 Qualifying for Your Dissolution of Marriage

Spouses wishing to get a divorce in Illinois must first meet the basic criteria:

  • One or both partners have lived anywhere in Illinois for at least 90 days, even if it's not within the county where they were married. 
  • Both partners have lived “separate and apart” for some time—anywhere from six months to two years, depending on whether both partners stipulate to the marriage being “irretrievably broken” or not. "Separate and apart" can, however, mean spouses are still living under the same roof. 
  • A spouse wishing to file for a “fault-based” divorce must prove that their spouse is responsible for an act or condition resulting in the separation, such as adultery, abandonment, or attempting to take their spouse’s life (among others). 

#2 Determining Which Type of Divorce Is Best

In Illinois, couples filing for divorce can choose either “contested” or “uncontested” divorce. Contested divorces are far more common, as a judge will consider a divorce contested if the spouses disagree on even one aspect of their marriage dissolution. Typical areas of contest include:

  • How to split parenting time and where minor children will live
  • How to divide property
  • Which party is responsible for marital debts
  • Who keeps companion animals
  • Who should pay child and spousal support

If you and your partner can agree on these issues in addition to others as required by your judge, you may file an uncontested divorce indicating you are both in agreement. Uncontested divorces are traditionally cheaper and faster than contested divorces, and they can often be resolved without professional legal counsel.

#3 Completing All Required Paperwork

Divorces are notoriously paperwork-heavy, which is why many families choose to work with a divorce lawyer in Schaumburg to clarify and streamline the process. You and your spouse will fill out and file official pleadings with the court, and you will likely have to prepare financial disclosures and a joint parenting agreement if you have children. 

Divorces in Illinois can take months or even years, and you and your spouse can expect to spend some time in the “paperwork” phase as the court ensures your financial and legal affairs are all in order before finalizing your divorce. 

Although these steps are not a comprehensive guide to filing for divorce in Illinois, we hope they provide a brief overview of the marriage dissolution process. If you have questions for our Schaumburg family law attorney, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (847) 845-9477

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