Divorce Basics 2017-10-13T19:55:41+00:00

In Illinois, a divorce is often referred to as “dissolution.” The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (a.k.a. “IMDMA” or 750 ILCS 5/) governs divorce law in Illinois. The person filing for divorce is known as the petitioner and the person responding to the divorce is known as the respondent.

Additionally, after the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (“IMDMA”) became effective in 2016, three new terms were created that are noteworthy:

(1) allocation of parental responsibility is the new term for child custody in Illinois;

(2) maintenance is the new term for alimony in Illinois (and many other states); and

(3) parenting time is the new term for visitation in Illinois.

(See 750 ILCS 5/600 for full text of the law).

Within any divorce, issues that must be considered in such actions are as follows, yet some may not apply to your case:

  • Allocation of parental responsibility (i.e. child custody);
  • Child support;
  • Parenting time (i.e. visitation of children);
  • Division of assets/property;
  • Maintenance (i.e. alimony);
  • Division of debt;
  • And more.

To file for divorce in any state, you must satisfy the state’s residency requirements. In Illinois, there is no waiting period to file a petition. The petition for divorce may be filed as long as one spouse legally resides in Illinois on the date of filing. The actual divorce, however, can only be granted if he or she has resided in Illinois for 90 days before the judgment [of divorce]. (See 750 ILCS 5/401(a) for full text of the law).

Grounds for divorce means the legally recognized reasons for divorcing. No-fault divorce is the only grounds for divorce recognized in Illinois. No-fault divorce is also known as “irreconcilable differences.” Illinois defines irreconcilable differences as the “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage. (See 750 ILCS 5/401(a) for full text of the law). The spouses are required to prove that there is a breakdown in the marriage, that all efforts at reconciliation have failed, and that future attempts to reconcile would not be “in the best interests of the family.” (See 750 ILCS 5/401(a) for full text of the law). Irreconcilable differences can also be shown by the parties living separately for at least 6 continuous months prior to filing for divorce. (See 750 ILCS 5/401(a) for full text of the law).