Divorce basics for Illinois residents

Marriages fail for numerous reasons; a husband or wife is unfaithful, a couple is overwhelmed by financial difficulties or spouses simply grow apart. Whatever the reasons may be, when an individual has made the decision to file for divorce and end a marriage, it’s important to understand state-specific divorce laws and become educated about the divorce process.

In order to obtain a divorce in the state of Illinois, an individual must have lived in the state for at least 90 days. Provided an individual meets state residency requirements, he or she must decide upon what grounds to file for divorce; fault or irreconcilable differences or what is commonly referred to as no fault.

A fault divorce is typically filed in cases where a spouse’s misconduct or actions contributed to the demise of a marriage. Fault divorces frequently include claims of adultery, substance abuse, desertion and abuse. If filing for a divorce based upon the grounds of irreconcilable differences, spouses must have lived apart for two years or, in cases where spouses agree to the divorce, six months.

In addition to understanding the requirements of filing for divorce in Illinois, it’s also important to understand how state laws relate to the division of property. Illinois is an equitable distribution state. This means that assets and property accumulated and acquired during the course of a marriage will be distributed between spouses. The distribution of these assets, however, may or may not be equal. In equitable distribution states, the courts take numerous factors into consideration and aim to distribute marital assets in a fair manner.

In our next blog post, we’ll take a look at the divorce process and what Illinois residents who file for divorce can expect.

Illinois Legal Aid, “Getting a Divorce in Illinois,” 2014

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