Illinois Divorce FAQs:

Steps To File Your Own Divorce:

Step 1: Download our free online divorce forms kit.

Step 2: The person who is deciding to file for divorce must complete all of the required divorce forms. The finished divorce papers must then be filed with the family court in the state where you reside. You can get divorced in a state other than the state you were married in as long as you meet the residency requirements for the state where you are going to file your divorce. You will also be required to pay a filing fee for your complete divorce forms. The fee to file for divorce varies from state to state. Check with your local family court to get the exact cost to file for divorce in your state.

Step 3: The spouce that files for divorce must notify the other spouse that you have filed for divorce by using the divorce forms included in our download.

Step 4: You and your spouse should outline in your divorce settlement agreement the terms you have agreed upon and set forth for one another such as child custody and support, property and asset division, spousal support, etc.

Step 5: After you have completed all of the required divorce forms and have filed them in divorce court, the court will review your divorce documents and issue you a final decree of divorce.

A judgment of dissolution of marriage may be granted in Illinois on the following grounds:

1. Impotence 2. Bigamy 3. Adultery 4. Desertion for one year 5. Addiction to alcohol/drugs 6. Attempted murder 7. Conviction of felony 8. Infecting other spouse with sexually transmitted disease 9. Living separate and apart for two years where there exists irreconcilable differences

If the grounds for the dissolution of marriage is based upon living separate and apart for two years with irreconcilable differences, the court must determine that efforts at reconciliation have failed or are impractical and not in the best interests of the family. Furthermore, if the parties have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for at least six months immediately prior to the filing of the petition, the parties may waive the requirement of living separate and apart for two years by filing a stipulation to that effect with the court. 750 ILCS 5/401

Residency requirements/where to file At least one of the parties to the dissolution action must have been a resident of the State of Illinois for a minimum of ninety days immediately prior to the filing of the action. The action for dissolution may be filed in the county where either party resides. 750 ILCS 5/401 Name of court and title of action/parties An action for dissolution of marriage is filed in Circuit Court. The title of the action initiating the dissolution proceeding is a Petition for Dissolution, while the title of the action granting the dissolution is referred to as a Judgement for Dissolution of Marriage. The filing party in a dissolution action is the Petitioner, while the other party is known as the Respondent. 750 ILCS 5/105

Legal separation Any person living separate and apart from their spouse may obtain a judgement of legal separation providing for that spouse's reasonable support and maintenance.

Simplified divorce procedure If the following conditions are met, the parties may file a joint petition for dissolution of marriage: 1. Neither party is dependent upon the other for support or each party is willing to waive the right to support, and each party understands that consultation with an attorney may help them determine eligibility for support; 2. The residency requirements have been met; 3. Irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and the parties have been separated for at least six months; 4. Reconciliation efforts have failed or would be futile; 5. No children of the marriage and wife is not pregnant; 6. The marriage is no older than eight years; 7. Neither party has any interest in real property; 8. The parties waive all rights to alimony; 9. The total fair market value of all marital property does not exceed $10,000; 10. The combined gross annual income of both parties does not exceed $35,000, and neither party has a gross annual income in excess of $20,000; 11. The parties have disclosed to each other all assets and their tax returns for all years of marriage; 12. The parties have executed a written agreement dividing all assets in excess of $100 in value and allocated responsibility for all debts and liabilities between the parties. 750 ILCS 5/453

Alimony Either party may be ordered to pay alimony to the other in amounts and for periods of time as the court deems just and equitable, after consideration of the following factors: 1. The income and property of each party; 2. The needs of each party; 3. The present and future earning capacity of each party; 4. Any impairment of earning capacity due to domestic duties or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities due to the marriage; 5. The time necessary for the party seeking alimony to acquire appropriate education, training and employment 6. Whether the party seeking alimony is the caretaker of a child whose condition is such that it would be inappropriate for that party to seek employment; 7. The standard of living established during the marriage; 8. The duration of the marriage; 9. The age and physical and emotional condition of each party; 10. The tax circumstances of each party: 11. Any other factor the court deems relevant. 750 ILCS 5/504

Distribution of property The court will divide the marital property of the parties as it deems equitable and just without regard to marital fault after setting aside to each spouse that spouse's separate property. Factors the court will consider in dividing the marital property include: 1. The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition and preservation of the marital and non-marital property; 2. The dissipation by each party of the marital and non-marital property; 3. The value of the property set aside to each spouse; 4. The duration of the marriage; 5. The economic circumstances of the parties at the time the division of property takes effect; 6. Any pre-existing rights and obligations from previous marriages; 7. Any antenuptial agreement between the parties; 8. The age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each party; 9. The custodial provisions for any children; 10. Whether the apportionment is in lieu of or in addition to alimony; 11. The reasonable opportunities of each spouse for future acquisition of capital assets and income; 12. The tax circumstances of the property division. 750 ILCS 5/503

Child custody Custody of the child is determined according to the child's best interests, after consideration of the following factors: 1. The wishes of the child's parents; 2. The wishes of the child; 3. The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his parents and siblings, etc. 4. The child's adjustment to home, school and community; 5. The mental and physical health of all individuals concerned; 6. Any instances of domestic violence or abuse; 7. The willingness and ability of each party to encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and other parent.

The court may interview the child in chambers to ascertain his wishes as to custody and visitation. 750 ILCS 5/602, 750 ILCS 5/604

Child support The court may order either or both parties to a dissolution of marriage proceeding to pay child support in an amount reasonable to provide for the child's necessary needs. The State of Illinois has enacted child support guidelines which establish the amount of support which is presumed to be correct. The court may deviate from the guidelines, however, when it finds that the application of the guidelines would be inappropriate, after consideration of the following factors: 1. The financial resources and needs of the child; 2. The financial resources and needs of the custodial parent; 3. The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved; 4. The physical and emotional condition of the child and his educational needs; 5. The financial resources and needs of the non-custodial parent.

If the court deviates from the guidelines, it must state its reasons for deviating from the guidelines and state the amount which would have been required under the guidelines.

The court shall also include in any order for child support a provision providing for the health care coverage of the child. 750 ILCS 5/505, 750 ILCS 5/505.2

Conciliation/Mediation If the court determines that there is a prospect of reconciliation, the court may, at the request of either party or on its own motion, order counseling for the parties. 750 ILCS 5/404 Educational program In a action for dissolution of marriage involving minor children, the court may order the parents to participate in an educational program concerning the effects of divorce upon children. 750 ILCS 5/401.1.