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Illinois Divorce Information

The following information is to provide a basic understanding of the various aspects of divorce in the State of Illinois.

You can get more specific information regarding Illinois divorce laws using the links provided to Illinois divorce laws or at your local library.

This information is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Before taking any action you should seek the advice of an attorney familiar with the laws in the state in which you will be seeking a divorce.

Every effort has been made to assure that the information contained in these pages is accurate however, due to the ever changing nature of the law some material may be outdated or may no longer apply.

Illinois Divorce Resources

Residency Requirements Illinois laws require at least one spouse to be a resident of the state of Illinois for 90 days to file for divorce
Where to File File the divorce documents in the county where you live, or the county where your spouse lives
Grounds for Divorce Irreconcilable differences is the only ground needed to divorce. If the parties have lived separate and apart for at least six months, there is an irrebuttable presumption that irreconcilable differences exist.
Voluntary or required mediation Yes
Voluntary or recommended CounselingYes
Property Distribution Each spouse's non-marital property is awarded to the spouse who it belongs to. The division of marital property is done without regard to marital misconduct, considering the following relevant factors:
  • The contribution of each party to the acquisition, preservation, or increase or decrease in value of the marital or non-marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker or to the family unit
  • The dissipation by each party of the marital or non-marital property
  • The value of the property assigned to each spouse
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The relevant economic circumstances of each spouse when the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home, or the right to live therein for reasonable periods, to the spouse having custody of the children
  • Any obligations and rights arising from a prior marriage of either party
  • Any antenuptial agreement of the parties
  • The age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each of the parties
  • The custodial provisions for any children
  • Whether the apportionment is in lieu of or in addition to maintenance (alimony)
  • The reasonable opportunity of each spouse for future acquisition of capital assets and income
  • The tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic considerations of the parties
Child Custody Illinois does not use the term custody. It has been replaced with "allocation of significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time." Unless the parents otherwise agree in writing on an allocation of significant decision-making responsibilities, the court shall allocate to one or both of the parents the significant decision-making responsibility for each significant issue affecting the child. Those significant issues shall include, without limitation, the following:
  • Education, including the choice of schools and tutors.
  • Health, including all decisions relating to the medical, dental, and psychological needs of the child and to the treatments arising or resulting from those needs.
  • Religion, subject to the following provisions:
    • (A) The court shall allocate decision-making responsibility for the child's religious upbringing in accordance with any express or implied agreement between the parents.
    • (B) The court shall consider evidence of the parents' past conduct as to the child's religious upbringing in allocating decision-making responsibilities consistent with demonstrated past conduct in the absence of an express or implied agreement between the parents.
    • (C) The court shall not allocate any aspect of the child's religious upbringing if it determines that the parents do not or did not have an express or implied agreement for such religious upbringing or that there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate a course of conduct regarding the child's religious upbringing that could serve as a basis for any such order.
  • Extracurricular activities.
The court shall allocate parenting time according to the child's best interests.
  • The wishes of the child's parent or parents as to custody of the child
  • The wishes of the child as to custody
  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his parent or parents, his siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest
  • The child's adjustment to his home, school and community
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
  • the child's needs;
  • the distance between the parents' residences, the cost and difficulty of transporting the child, each parent's and the child's daily schedules, and the ability of the parents to cooperate in the arrangement;
  • whether a restriction on parenting time is appropriate;
  • The physical violence or threat of physical violence by the child's potential custodian, whether directed against the child or directed against another person
  • The occurrence of ongoing abuse as defined in Section 103 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, whether directed against the child or directed against another person
  • the willingness and ability of each parent to place the needs of the child ahead of his or her own needs;
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child
  • the occurrence of abuse against the child or other member of the child's household;
  • whether one of the parents is a convicted sex offender or lives with a convicted sex offender and, if so, the exact nature of the offense and what if any treatment the offender has successfully participated in; the parties are entitled to a hearing on the issues raised in this paragraph
  • the terms of a parent's military family-care plan that a parent must complete before deployment if a parent is a member of the United States Armed Forces who is being deployed;
  • any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant.
The court doesn't consider conduct of a present or proposed custodian that does not affect the relationship to the child

Unless the court finds the occurrence of ongoing abuse, it shall presume that the maximum involvement and cooperation of both parents regarding the physical, mental, moral, and emotional well-being of their child is in the best interest of the child. There shall be no presumption in favor of or against joint custody but upon the application of either or both parents, or upon its own motion, the court shall consider an award of joint custody. The court may enter an order of joint custody if it determines that joint custody would be in the best interests of the child, taking into account the following:
  • The ability of the parents to cooperate effectively and consistently in matters that directly affect the joint parenting of the child. "Ability of the parents to cooperate" means the parents' capacity to substantially comply with a Joint Parenting Order. The court shall not consider the inability of the parents to cooperate effectively and consistently in matters that do not directly affect the joint parenting of the child
  • The residential circumstances of each parent
  • All other factors which may be relevant to the best interest of the child
In allocating parenting time, the court shall not consider conduct of a parent that does not affect that parent's relationship to the child.
Child Support Child support is determined by Illinois statutes. Those laws use a percentage of the paying spouse's net income, after certain specified deductions, as the basis for the child support calculation.

If the court deviates from these child support guidelines, it must make a written finding why the deviation is appropriate, based on the following laws:
  • The financial resources and needs of the child
  • The financial resources and needs of the custodial parent
  • The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved
  • The physical and emotional condition of the child, and his educational needs
  • The financial resources and needs of the non-custodial parent
Spousal Support Illinois laws allow for temporary or permanent maintenance (alimony) award if requested. Marital misconduct is not considered in the alimony guidelines. Illinois laws list the following factors to be considered by the court:
  • The income and property of each party, including marital property apportioned and non-marital property assigned to the party seeking alimony
  • The needs of each party
  • The present and future earning capacity of each party
  • Any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance due to that party devoting time to domestic duties or having forgone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities due to the marriage
  • The time necessary to enable the party seeking maintenance to acquire appropriate education, training, and employment, and whether that party is able to support himself or herself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child making it appropriate that the custodian not seek employment
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age and physical and emotional condition of both parties
  • The tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties
  • Contributions and services by the party seeking alimony to the education, training, career or career potential, or license of the other spouse
  • Any valid agreement of the parties
  • Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable

Illinois Divorce Attorneys by County

Illinois Divorce Mediators by County

This information has been compiled directly from the most recently available statutes online for each state. Every effort has been made to assure that this information is correct and complete. Be aware that laws frequently change. Do not take any action based on this information without first consulting an attorney to be certain that the laws pertaining to your particular situation have not changed.

The language used in most cases on this page is legal terminology taken directly from the statutes and laws of each state. The terminology is not always easy to understand. If you are not sure of something you should consult an attorney so that you can fully understand the meaning of the laws.

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