Tag Archives: Illinois divorce laws

IL divorce lawyerMany people know the common issues they will face in divorce. Their property may be divided and if the two spouses involved have children together, child custody and child support hearings will also certainly be a part of the divorce process. However, spouses often think there is no chance of reconciliation in the marriage, which is why they have started the divorce process. What happens then, when reconciliation becomes a real possibility?

No-Fault Divorce Laws in Illinois

Since 2016, Illinois has operated on a pure no-fault basis for divorce. This means the spouse filing for divorce does not have to allege or prove their partner was at fault for the breakdown of the marital relationship. They simply only have to state that the marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown and there is no chance of reconciliation. The no-fault laws in Illinois can help streamline the process and allow a person to get a divorce even if their spouse does not agree to it.

While Illinois does operate under a no-fault system for divorce, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) does outline certain requirements. One of these requires the spouses to live separately and apart for at least six months to show there is no chance of reconciliation, although spouses can agree to waive this requirement. The IMDMA also requires the court to determine if reconciliation is a possibility. If it is, the couple may have to attend a conciliation conference before their divorce is finalized.

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IL divorce lawyerExperts are still saying that divorce rates are continuing to increase during the pandemic. People stuck at home together for months on end, job loss, and a lack of money are all contributing factors to this phenomenon. If you are considering divorce for any reason, below are the steps you will have to follow and what you can expect.

Eligibility for Divorce

Like all states, Illinois has certain requirements. Prior to filing, you must live in Illinois for a minimum of 90 days. You must also file in the county in which you or your spouse currently resides.

Divorce vs. Legal Separation

You may know you want a divorce, or you may choose a legal separation for religious or other reasons. A separation agreement is very similar to a divorce decree, as it will include certain legally-binding terms, such as parenting time, child support, and property division. Unlike a divorce decree, a legal separation does not mean you are divorced which can place limitations on you, such as being unable to get married again.

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IL divorce lawyerSame-sex marriages have been legal for nearly a decade in Illinois, meaning that some of those couples will also face the issues of divorce. Same-sex couples that need to get a divorce will still have to resolve the common issues of divorce, including property division, spousal maintenance, and perhaps even child support. However, same-sex divorces also raise some unique issues that are not present in other cases. An Illinois divorce lawyer can help any person going through a divorce sort through these issues, and give them the best chance of securing a positive outcome in their case.

Are Same-Sex Divorces Legal?

Once same-sex marriages became legal, same-sex divorces also became legal, as these couples have the potential for divorcing just like any other. However, same-sex couples will still have to meet all of the requirements for divorce in the state. Firstly, the couple must be married. Simply living together or being together for a long period of time is not enough to get an official divorce. Individuals that want to file for divorce must also meet the residency requirement, meaning that they must have lived in the state for 90 consecutive days before filing.

What Are the Unique Issues Pertaining to Same-Sex Divorces?

Although same-sex couples will have to resolve many of the terms associated with other divorces, these cases do have some unique issues. One of these is that a couple’s relationship may have begun long before same-sex marriages became legal in the state. They may have acquired property together that would usually be considered marital property, but because the couple was not technically married at the time, it is considered separate property.

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IL divorce lawyerPeople face many complexities when getting a divorce. For most, these challenges include disputes about child custody, property division, and other terms of the divorce. Some people, however, face a much different problem. They want to get a divorce, but they cannot find their spouse. Perhaps their spouse left the city or state, or maybe the couple was only married for a very short time before going their separate ways without officially getting a divorce. In these situations, fortunately, it is still possible to divorce, even if you cannot find your spouse.

Requirements when Serving a Spouse with Divorce Papers

In Illinois, you must serve your spouse with divorce papers in one of two ways. The first is to have the sheriff or a personal process server deliver a copy of the petition for divorce personally to your spouse.

The second option involves the sheriff or personal process server leaving a copy of the petition with someone older than 13 that lives in another home with your spouse. In the second scenario, the sheriff or process server must tell the person they leave the papers with the purpose of the documents, and they must mail a copy of the petition to the same address.

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IL divorce lawyerAfter making the difficult decision to divorce, most people would like the entire process to be over with as soon as possible. Unfortunately, divorce is not an automatic process and in Illinois, there are two different waiting periods couples must be aware of. Individuals that wish to file for divorce must have lived in the state for a certain period of time, and then comply with the mandatory waiting period.

The Residential Requirement

The legal statute governing divorce in Illinois states that the couple must live in the state for 90 days prior to filing. In many cases, this is not an issue but there are instances in which this waiting period may present an issue. For example, if the couple has physically separated and one spouse has been living in Texas for some time, they may want to file in that state instead, particularly if laws on the terms of divorce, such as property division laws, would favor them in a different state. In this situation, it is crucial to speak to a lawyer that can help you determine where the case should be heard.

The Separation Requirement

Historically in Illinois, the couple had to separate for two years before a divorce, if a spouse filed under the no-fault divorce laws at the time. If the filing spouse had alleged fault on the part of their spouse, such as mental cruelty, that waiting period could be reduced to six months. Illinois has not operated under these laws for a long time.

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