Is separation required to get a divorce in Illinois?

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2023 | Divorce

While U.S. News and World Report states Illinois was one of the states with the lowest divorce rates in 2019 at 6.2%, people in the state are still filing to end their marriages. When asking the court for a divorce, you have to follow specific rules.

In many situations, one of those requirements is that you and your spouse must go through a separation prior to filing for divorce. However, in Illinois, this requirement is not entirely mandatory as it depends on the situation.

Using separation to prove grounds

In Illinois, one way to establish grounds for divorce is by demonstrating that you have been living apart for a minimum of six months. This period of physical separation serves as evidence of irreconcilable differences, which is the only grounds for divorce in the state.

Proving irreconcilable differences

If you do not separate for at least six months, you will have to show the court that irreconcilable differences exist in the relationship. This means that your marriage has broken down to the point where reconciliation is unlikely or impossible.

Important note

If you want to separate, you do not have to live apart to use it as evidence when you file for divorce. You can continue to reside in the same household if you mutually agree that your marriage is over and divorce is in the best interest of all involved parties and swear that before the court.

While Illinois law doesn’t mandate a separation period before filing for divorce, doing so can help substantiate the grounds for divorce and may streamline the legal process. In any case, the key factor to filing for divorce is demonstrating that the marriage has genuinely broken down.