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Does Illinois Require Separation Before Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton Divorce LawyerThe divorce process in Illinois is both complex and emotional. Understanding the state's divorce requirements is important to navigate it effectively. Separation is a significant requirement, but it is often misinterpreted.

Requirement for Separation

Illinois law mandates that spouses either live apart for six months in separate homes or declare that their marriage has broken down irretrievably; all reconciliation attempts have failed, and any future attempts would not be in the family's best interest. This rule is intended to allow spouses to reconsider and potentially reconcile before proceeding with the divorce. The six-month rule does not mean that the parties must remain apart for six months before filing for divorce. It means that they must have been living separately for six months before the date of filing.

Grounds for Divorce

In January 2016, Illinois introduced a new law that only accepts "irreconcilable differences" as a reason for divorce. Earlier, fault-based divorces were allowed on grounds like adultery. In Illinois, the only grounds for divorce are irreconcilable differences, which means that the marriage has experienced an irretrievable breakdown. The judge will assume irreconcilable differences have been met if the spouses have lived separately for six consecutive months before the divorce judgment.

Understanding "Irreconcilable Differences"

The term "irreconcilable differences" is a legal phrase that means the spouses cannot get along to the point where their marriage is beyond repair. The law does not require specific proof of these differences. Instead, it looks at the separation of the spouses as evidence of these irreconcilable differences. If the spouses live apart for six months, the law assumes that irreconcilable differences have arisen. 

Some examples are: 

  • Communication breakdown 

  • Different goals and values

  • Lack of trust

  • Different moral standards

  • Financial difficulties

  • Physical or emotional abuse

  • Inability to resolve conflicts

Navigating the Separation Period

Living together while separated can be difficult for many couples, as it requires emotional strength and a willingness to maintain separate lives while sharing a home. Seeking help from a counselor or therapist can provide valuable emotional support during this challenging period.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

Separation is a crucial requirement in the divorce process in Illinois. Understanding these laws and requirements is essential to navigate the divorce process effectively. Working with an Illinois family law attorney can help you know what next steps to take. Call Goostree Law Group at 630-364-4046 to receive a no-obligation free consultation.




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