This is an FAQ on who can file a divorce in Illinois. People wonder, “Can I get divorced in Illinois?” As an Illinois uncontested divorce lawyer, that’s one of the most common questions I get. The information in this FAQ applies to uncontested and contested divorces in Illinois.
Is there a residency requirement for starting a divorce in Illinois?
There is a residency requirement to get a divorced in Illinois. For some reason, the legislature chose “90” days as a magical amount of days for residency in Illinois.
The 90 day residency requirement can be met in either of two ways, and it can be met by either spouse. Keep reading to find out more.
For the purposes of this FAQ, we will refer to the residency rule as the “90 Day Rule.”
You might want to check out this video:
Do I have to live in Illinois for 90 days before starting a divorce in Illinois?
Many people wonder if they have to live in Illinois at least 90 days before starting a divorce in Illinois.
However, it is common misperception that passing the 90 Day Rule requires at least one spouse to live in Illinois prior to either one filing a divorce case.
Here is the actual language from Section 401(a) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act: “The court shall enter a judgment of dissolution of marriage when at the time the action was commenced one of the spouses was a resident of this State or was stationed in this State while a member of the armed services, and the residence or military presence had been maintained for 90 days next preceding the commencement of the action or the making of the finding”
From that language we can see that the 90 day residency is met by EITHER one of the spouses living in Illinois for 90 days prior to “commencement of the action” (aka “filing the case”) OR living in Illinois 90 days before the “making of the finding” (aka the “finalization of the divorce”).
Do both spouses have to meet the 90 Day Rule?
Only one spouse has to pass the 90 Day Rule to get divorced in Illinois.
Can I start a divorce case if I don’t live in Illinois?
You don’t have to live in Illinois to start an uncontested divorce in Illinois.
However, either you or your spouse must pass the 90 Day Rule.
Are there different rules for uncontested and contested divorce in Illinois?
It is true that an uncontested divorce in Illinois is the fastest and most affordable way to get divorced in Illinois. But as far as an ability to start a divorce in Illinois, the 90 Day Rule is the same for both uncontested and contested divorces in Illinois.
Can active duty military file a divorce in Illinois if based in Illinois?
There are special rules for active duty members of the military that are stationed in Illinois. Long story short, members of the military have some leniency in passing the 90 Day Rule.
For example, suppose a sailor is based at Naval Station Great Lakes. That sailor might be from Texas, and the sailor’s spouse might live in Oklahoma. The sailor might wonder if he or she meets the 90 day residence requirement to start a divorce in Illinois.
Being stationed at a military based in Illinois qualifies as living in Illinois, even if the member of the military considers another state to be his or her state of residency. If you think about it, that makes sense. It would be unreasonable to require a member of the military to deal with the court in another state if based in Illinois.
Do both spouses have to live in Illinois to get divorced in Illinois?
Technically speaking, so long as at least one spouse can pass the 90 Day Rule, neither spouse has to live in Illinois at the time of the divorce.
For example, suppose Mike lived in Illinois staring from 2010, and Mike’s spouse lives in California. Then, Mike files for divorce on April 1, 2023, before moving from Illinois to New York on Aril 2, 203. Mike would pass the 90 Day Rule because he lived in Illinois for 90 days preceding the filing of his divorce in Illinois.
It actually doesn’t matter if Mike lived in Illinois, and Mike’s spouse passes the 90 Day Rule, Mike would still be able to file the case in Illinois.
Are there any other waiting periods for uncontested divorce in Illinois?
Getting divorced in Illinois previously involved a waiting period. In other words, even if you passed the 90 Day Rule, you previously had to go through a “waiting period.” I guess the legislature didn’t want you to get divorced without having time to think about it. Well, that was obviously really stupid, and made no sense at all. So now, for an uncontested divorce in Illinois, there is no waiting period at the state level. However, some counties might have their own waiting period. If you want to know if a waiting period might be an issue in your case, it is best to contact an uncontested divorce lawyer in Illinois. You can also check out this FAQ article about Illinois divorce waiting periods.
Why is there a requirement for who can get divorced in Illinois?
If anyone could get divorced in Illinois, chaos would ensue. People would come from some other state to Illinois with the sole purpose of getting divorced here – maybe because they like Illinois’ divorce laws better than the other states, or maybe some other reason.
How can I start a divorce in Illinois:
If you are interested in getting started with an uncontested divorce, contact me, Illinois uncontested divorce lawyer David Wolkowitz. I can help you get an uncontested divorce in the following Illinois counties: Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane, Will, Champaign, and Sangamon.
If you have questions about the 90 Day Rule, I might be able to help you out during a quick phone call.