Four Tips to Know Before Filing for Divorce in Illinois

1. Is there a "cooling-off" period in Illinois before a person can to file for divorce?

No, there is no requirement that you delay any amount of time before filing a divorce, now called a dissolution of marriage case.

2. Can I get an uncontested divorce in Illinois if both parties agree?

If you wish to use the grounds of irreconcilable differences then you must be separated for a period of two years, or six months so long as both parties agree in writing to use those grounds. However, there are other grounds available which do not require any period of separation. Mental cruelty or physical cruelty are just two examples. Prior to adding the grounds of irreconcilable differences most of the divorces in Illinois were filed on the grounds of mental cruelty and were treated as uncontested divorces. By the way, the grounds for dissolution of marriage are very rarely ever disputed.

3. How long do I have to be a resident of Illinois before I can file a divorce or dissolution of marriage action?

You need to be a valid resident of Illinois for a period of 90 days before you can file for dissolution of your marriage. To establish residency the key element is your physical or bodily presence in the state of Illinois and also your intention of making it a permanent home.

4. Do I need to be a resident of the county where I am living for 90 days before I can file my divorce in that county?

No, you do not need to reside for 90 days in your county to file there. The 90 day requirement is only for the state of Illinois not for the county where you reside.  In legal terms, venue meaning the county, is no longer jurisdictional (750 ILCS 5/104).

To reside in your county or have a residence there the key element again is your physical presence in your new county and also your intention of making it your permanent home.

Frequently this issue comes up where one spouse leaves the marital home in one county such as Cook County and establishes a residence in another county, such as DuPage County. Since he or she now is a resident of the new county, DuPage County that person may file immediately for a divorce in the new county of residence. There is no waiting period required and the filing can be done immediately. Many times choosing the county is important since it gives the filing spouse a kind of home court advantage in having closer access to the courthouse. Sometimes choosing a different county is a good idea since the it is generally faster to have a case progress through the system in a smaller county rather then a larger county like Cook County.

Sometimes it is a race to the courthouse to see which party can file first in their county to establish the case there. In Illinois, the race is one by files the divorce case first, and not by who serve the divorce papers and summons first. [Abbott v. Abbott 52 Ill App 3d 728 (3d1977).]

Contact an experience family law and divorce attorney at the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio. Call 630-920-8855 to speak about your divorce matters today.

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