The decision to end your marriage is likely one of the biggest decisions of your life. There is no “undoing” a divorce once it is finalized. Consequently, some states require married spouses to wait a certain amount of time before they can get divorced. Illinois used to have such a requirement; however, there is no longer a mandatory separation period or waiting period for divorce in Illinois. That being said, there are still certain criteria that must be met before you can divorce in Illinois.
Divorce Requirements and the Separation Period
To get divorced in Illinois, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for 90 days or longer. You may divorce in Illinois even if you were not married in the state.
Before changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, spouses also had to live apart for a certain period of time before they were eligible for divorce. In 2021, though, there is no longer a mandatory separation period. Furthermore, there are no longer fault-based grounds for divorce in Illinois. The only reason you can seek a divorce in Illinois is “irreconcilable differences.” In other words, you and your spouse simply cannot get along anymore, and you wish to terminate your marriage relationship.
Irrefutable Proof of Irreconcilable Differences
One issue that many Illinois residents seeking a divorce misunderstand is the waiting period. There is no longer a two-year or six-month mandatory separation period before you are eligible for divorce. However, if a spouse contests the grounds for divorce, meaning he or she disagrees that there are irreconcilable differences, being separated for six months creates a legal presumption of irreconcilable differences. So, living separate and apart from your spouse for six months or longer automatically meets the “irreconcilable differences” ground for divorce–even if your spouse disagrees.
Do We Have to Live in Separate Homes?
If you are interested in getting divorced and you want to use a six-month separation period to satisfy the irreconcilable differences standards, you may worry about living in two separate homes. Fortunately, Illinois case law has established that you do not have to live in two different houses to be living separately. If you and your spouse are no longer sharing a bed or having marital relations, attending events together, or sharing meals together, the court will likely consider this “living apart” for the purposes of your divorce petition.
Contact a Naperville Divorce Lawyer
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