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Divorce Laws in Illinois

In Illinois, if the court or either spouse believes that the marriage can be saved, the court can order a conciliation conference.

Illinois does not recognize common law marriage.

Residency and jurisdiction
At least one spouse must live in Illinois for at least 90 days prior to filing.

Fault or no fault and grounds for divorce
Illinois allows fault and no fault divorce. In a no fault divorce spouses are normally required to live apart for at least two years with irreconcilable differences that have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. If both spouses agree and have lived apart for at least six months, the two-year time period can be waived.

The following are acceptable grounds for fault:

  • Impotence
  • Married to someone else at the time of marriage
  • Adultery
  • Desertion for one year
  • Habitual alcohol or drug abuse for two years
  • Extreme and repeated physical or mental cruelty
  • Infecting spouse with a sexually transmitted disease

Division of property
Illinois is an "equitable distribution" State meaning the property is not divided 50/50 but rather in a manner that the court deems fair to both parties. Illinois does not consider marital misconduct when determining property division.

Factors to be considered in property division include:

  • Length of marriage
  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Contributions (up or down) to the marriage including homemaking
  • Dissipation of property by each spouse
  • Economic circumstances if each spouse including child custody
  • Obligations and rights from prior marriages
  • Needs of each spouse
  • Age and health
  • Employability and other resources
  • Child custody
  • Spousal support
  • Tax consequences

Spousal support
Marital misconduct is not considered in determining spousal support. The following factors must be considered:

  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Length of marriage
  • Income and property
  • Needs of each spouse
  • Earning capacity
  • Impairment of earning capacity, including any impairment caused by the marriage such as time spent as a homemaker or having forgone education
  • Length of time necessary to establish employability
  • Child custody
  • Physical and emotional health and age
  • Contributions made by the seeking spouse to the career of the other spouse
  • Any existing legal agreement between the spouses

Child custody and support
Marital conduct is not considered when determining child custody. The court must consider the following:

  • Wishes of the parents
  • Wishes of the child
  • Relationship of the child with parents, siblings and any other significant party
  • Child’s adjustment to home, school, and community
  • Mental and physical health of all individuals involved
  • Violence, committed or threatened, against the child or another person
  • Ongoing or repeated abuse against the child or another person
  • Willingness to facilitate and encourage a close relationship between the child and the other parent
  • Whether one parent is a sex offender

Illinois follows the Percentage of Income formula to calculate child support.

If you are considering or facing divorce in Illinois, contact an experienced Illinois divorce attorney today.

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Disclaimer: Divorce law information contained throughout this page is intended to generally inform you about divorce law in Illinois and introduce you to divorce lawyers throughout the U.S. The information regarding divorce and divorce law is not meant to be taken as legal advice. If you like to speak with an experienced divorce attorney, click on the link to your state to find an experienced divorce lawyer in your area for an initial consultation.
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