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Do You Have to Be Separated Before Divorce in Illinois?

Do You Have to Be Separated Before Divorce in Illinois?

Unlike some states, Illinois does not require spouses to be separated before getting a divorce. While separation can be a part of the divorce process in Illinois, spouses don’t have to separate before filing for one. Instead, spouses who want to divorce can initiate the divorce process immediately.

To get a divorce in Illinois, spouses need only assert that the marriage is irreconcilable, which means the marriage has broken down and cannot be fixed. If both spouses agree to the divorce, they may proceed with the legal process.

However, if one spouse contests the grounds for divorce, living separately and apart for at least six months creates the legal presumption that the marriage is broken beyond repair, even if one spouse disagrees.

Illinois also requires that at least one spouse be a resident of the state for at least 90 days prior to finalizing the divorce. This ensures that the Illinois courts have jurisdiction over the divorce case. As long as at least one spouse meets the residency requirement, spouses can file a petition for divorce at any time.

There is also a fee to file, which varies depending on the county. A person who cannot afford the filing fee may apply for a waiver with the court.

What Does It Mean to Live Separate and Apart in Illinois?

Living “separate and apart” in the context of a divorce doesn’t necessarily mean that the spouses must live in different homes or be physically separated. Instead, it’s about how the spouses live and interact with each other.

For instance, spouses who no longer share a bed, attend social events as a couple, or share finances may be considered as living “separate and apart.” That said, being physically separated does constitute living separate and apart.

How Can a Divorce Lawyer in Illinois Help Me?

The stress and overwhelming emotions that accompany a divorce can impact a person’s ability to make good judgments. A divorce lawyer can act as your objective advisor and advocate, ensuring that proceedings stay on track toward a fair outcome.

An attorney can bring clarity to complex legal processes, guiding you through each step while protecting your rights and interests.

A divorce lawyer can also serve as a buffer between you and your spouse, reducing direct conflict. This is especially valuable in emotionally charged situations like child custody or property division disputes. An attorney will negotiate on your behalf, aiming for fair resolutions while keeping your long-term interests in mind.

A lawyer also brings peace of mind. Knowing that a professional is handling the legal aspects of your case allows you to focus on rebuilding your life and starting fresh.

Contact an Illinois Divorce Attorney Now

If you’re considering separation or divorce in Illinois, you don’t have to go through it alone. The Law Office of Vogel and Mourelatos, LLC, can offer the guidance and support you need.

Our experienced attorneys understand the challenges you’re facing and can help you find the best path forward. Contact us now for a confidential consultation session.