The spouse filing for dissolution must have been a resident of Illinois for 90 days immediately prior to filing for dissolution of marriage. The dissolution of marriage may be filed in a county where either spouse resides.
Legal Grounds for Divorce in Illinois
No Fault Divorce:
- Irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and reconciliation has failed or further attempts at reconciliation are impractical and the spouses have been living separate and apart without cohabitation for 2 years. (If both spouses consent, the time period becomes 6 months).
General Divorce or Fault Based Divorce:
- Habitual drunkenness for 2 years and/or drug addiction.
- Conviction of a felony.
- Willful desertion for 1 year.
- Cruel and inhuman treatment.
- Attempted poisoning or otherwise endangering the life of the spouse.
- Infection of the other spouse with a communicable disease.
Legal Separation in Illinois:
The residency requirement specified in the statute is that an action for legal separation must be brought where the Respondent resides. Any person living separate and apart from his or her spouse, without fault, may obtain a legal separation with provisions for reasonable support and maintenance.
Legal Separation procedures are the same as those for divorce. A proceeding or judgment for Legal Separation doesn’t prohibit either party from seeking an action for Dissolution of Marriage.
Simplified/Special Divorce Procedures in Illinois:
Marital settlement agreements are specifically allowed and encouraged [750 Illinois Compiled Statutes Annotated; Chapter 5, Section 502]. In addition, Illinois has an approved “Joint Simplified Dissolution” procedure and petition found in 750 Illinois Compiled Statutes Annotated; Chapter 5, Section 452. To use this simplified procedure:
- The spouses must not have been married over 5 years.
- The spouses must neither have had nor adopted any children.
- The wife cannot now be pregnant by the husband.
- Neither spouse can own any real estate.
- Both spouses must certify that neither is dependent on the other for support (or must waive any type of alimony).
- The market value of all marital property must be less than $5,000.00.
- The combined gross annual income of both spouses must be less than $25,000.00.
Alimony/Spousal Support in Illinois:
In an action for dissolution of marriage or legal separation the court may grant a temporary or permanent alimony award for either spouse in amounts and for periods of time as determined by the court, without regard to marital misconduct. Maintenance awards are determined with consideration of the following factors:
- The time necessary to acquire sufficient education and training to enable the spouse to find appropriate employment.
- The standard of living established during the marriage.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The age of the spouses.
- The physical and emotional conditions of the spouses.
- The income and property of each spouse.
- Whether the spouse seeking support is able to support himself or herself or is unable to seek employment because he or she is the custodian of a child.
- Any contributions or service by the spouse seeking support to the education, career, training, potential, or licensure of the other spouse.
- Any marital settlement agreement.
- Any other just and equitable factor.
Sole or joint custody may be awarded, based upon the best interests of the child and upon the following factors:
- Preference of the child.
- The wishes of the parents.
- The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community.
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
- The relationship of the child with parents, siblings, and other significant family members.
- Any history of violence or threat of abuse by a parent, whether directed against the child or against another person.
- The willingness and ability of each parent to encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent.
Marital misconduct that does not directly affect the parent’s relationship with the child is not to be considered. There is a presumption that the maximum involvement and cooperation of the parents is in the best interests of the child. However, this is not to be considered a presumption that joint custody is always in the best interests of the child.
For an award of joint custody, the court will also consider the following factors:
- The ability of the parents to cooperate effectively and consistently.
- The residential circumstances of each parent.
- Any other relevant factor.
The parents shall prepare a Joint Parenting Agreement (which may be part of a Marital Settlement Agreement) which will specify each parent’s rights and responsibilities for:
- Personal care of the child.
- Major educational, health care, and religious training decisions.
The Joint Parenting Agreement will also include provisions specifying mediation of problems and periodic review of the terms of the Agreement. Joint parenting does not necessarily mean equal parenting time. The physical residence for the child is to be determined by either:
- An agreement between the parents.
- A court order based on the factors listed above.
Either or both parents may be ordered to pay reasonable and necessary child support, without regard to marital fault or misconduct. If the official guidelines are not appropriate, the following factors are considered:
- The financial resources and needs of the child.
- The standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not been dissolved.
- The physical and emotional conditions and educational needs of the child.
- The financial resources, needs, and obligations of both the noncustodial and the custodial parent.
The court may require support to include payment of a child’s health insurance premium. Support payments may be ordered to be paid directly to the clerk of the court. There are official guidelines for the amount of support contained in the statute. Illinois Driver’s licenses may be revoked if child support obligations are not met.
Property Distribution in Illinois:
Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state. Each spouse retains the non-marital (separate) property that he or she owned prior to the marriage and any property acquired by gift or inheritance during the marriage. The court will distribute all other marital property, without regard to fault, considering the following factors:
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition or dissipation of the marital or non-marital property, including the contribution of each spouse as homemaker or to the family unit.
- The value of each spouse’s non-marital property.
- The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home to the spouse having custody of the children.
- The length of the marriage.
- The age and health of the spouses.
- The occupation of the spouses.
- The amount and sources of income of the spouses.
- The vocational skills of the spouses.
- The employability of the spouses.
- The estate, liabilities, and needs of each spouse and the opportunity of each for further acquisition of capital assets and income.
- The federal income tax consequences of the court’s division of the property.
- Any premarital agreement.
- Liabilities of the spouses (including obligations from a prior marriage).
- Whether the property award is instead of or in addition to maintenance.
- Any custodial provisions for the children.
Disclaimer: The divorce law information provided is for informational purposes only not for legal advice purposes. This information is general in nature. Each jurisdiction has specific code and court procedures. A local divorce attorney is your best source for how divorce is treated in your jurisdiction. Before making any legal decisions we encourage you to consult with a local attorney…do not make decisions based on general state divorce law.