Residency Requirements for Divorce

Like most states, Illinois has residency requirements for people wanting to terminate a marriage. State laws on the dissolution of a marriage only apply to residents of that state. When you file a petition for divorce in Chicago or or the Chicagoland area, you substantiate your residency with a sworn statement. This testimony is all most courts require.

Why is there a residency requirement to file for divorce?

Divorce is a legal proceeding in the district court that is begun by filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. As in any other legal action, the court needs to have jurisdiction to rule on a divorce. The court needs both subject matter jurisdiction – the authority to hear a case on a particular subject –and personal jurisdiction. Domicile or residence in a state gives the court personal jurisdiction over the parties.

What is the Illinois law on residency requirements for divorce?

State law on the residency requirement for dissolution of a marriage can be found at 750 ILCS 5/401. The statute states:

“. . . 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:”

Does my divorce petition have to be filed in a particular county?

Divorce proceedings should take place in the proper venue under Illinois law. This is the county in which either you or your spouse resides. If you are a resident, it is possible to file for divorce in a county where neither you nor your spouse currently resides. However, if you do so, you will need to file a motion along with your petition for divorce explaining why you chose to file in that county. For example, if you live in one county but work in another, it might be reasonable to file for divorce in the county where you work.

Beermann LLP is a long-established, award-winning divorce and family law firm in Chicago and the Chicagoland area. We are the family law firm that cares.