Illinois Divorce Law

Divorce is called dissolution of marriage in Illinois. Like all U.S. states, we have specific laws governing this legal proceeding. State laws will control the outcome of divorce in terms of the property you keep, your financial situation, and your parental rights.

Grounds for divorce in Illinois

As of 2016, Illinois is a no-fault state for divorce. The only grounds recognized by family law courts are irreconcilable differences. This term is defined under state law as the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage. To establish that your marriage has broken down irretrievably, you must either:

  • Have been separated for six months, either living in separate households or living separately (not as spouses) in the same household; or
  • Assert that there has been a breakdown of the marriage, all efforts toward reconciliation have failed, and any future attempts to reconcile would not be in the best interests of the family.

Residency requirements for divorce

You or your spouse must have been residing in the state, or stationed in the military in the state, for at least 90 days before you can get a divorce. Illinois law states, at 750 ILCS 5/401:

“. . . The court shall enter a judgment of dissolution of marriage when at the time the action was commenced one of the spouses was a resident of this State or was stationed in this State while a member of the armed services, and the residence or military presence had been maintained for 90 days next preceding the commencement of the action or the making of the finding:”

Division of marital property

Illinois is an equitable distribution state for dividing marital property. The goal of family courts is to distribute marital assets in a fair and equitable way. This does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split between the spouses. Courts consider several factors in deciding property division, including:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Contribution of each spouse during the marriage, including homemaker contributions
  • Dissipation by either party (wasting or hiding assets)
  • Value of non-marital assets (separately owned property) of each spouse
  • Economic circumstances of each spouse
  • Financial obligations from a previous marriage, such as child support or alimony
  • Valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreements between the spouses
  • Custody of minor children
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Tax consequences of asset division

Allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time

State law requires the allocation of decision-making rights for the child and a schedule for parenting time when the divorce involves minor children. Parents are required to file a proposed parenting plan, jointly or separately, with the court. If they disagree on parental matters, the judge may order parents to attempt resolving their disputes in mediation. In addition to any agreements made between the parents, the court will consider the best interests of the child in allocating parental responsibilities and parenting time.

Spousal maintenance in Chicago or the Chicagoland area

Alimony, or spousal maintenance, is not awarded in every divorce. The court will determine whether it is appropriate based on a range of factors, including need and ability to pay. If spousal maintenance is awarded, the court will look to the statutory guidelines in determining the amount and duration of alimony payments.

Child support in Illinois

Both parents have a legal obligation to financially support their children in Illinois. Child support is determined using an income shares model and charts provided by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Family courts may also allocate payment of health insurance, daycare, dental, school, and other expenses between parents.

Beermann LLP in Chicago and Bannockburn is known as the family law firm that cares. Our family law attorneys are at the top of their field. When everything is at stake, we are the law firm of choice.