Understanding the Divorce Process in Illinois

Divorce can be a very complicated process if it is a contested case, especially if children are involved. If you are facing a divorce in Illinois, it is best to understand the process, as it can make it easier to proceed.

  • To file for divorce in Illinois, at least one spouse must reside in Illinois for at least 90 days before they can file.
  • Illinois is a no-fault state. This means that neither party involved in a divorce must prove the other's wrongdoing for the court to finalize a divorce.
  • Divorce cases are heard and finalized by the Illinois circuit courts.
  • Illinois is an "equitable division" state. This means that property and debt are divided fairly, but not necessarily equally.

Understanding the divorce process in Illinois

There are five main phases of the divorce process in Illinois:

  1. File a PetitionThe divorce process in Illinois involves first filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. This is a formal request for the court to end the marriage. The petition must be filed in the county where at least one spouse resides. The other spouse must be served with a copy of the petition. Once the petition has been filed and served, the court will set a date for a hearing. This will decide the issues related to the divorce.
  2. The HearingAt the hearing, the court will consider the evidence presented by both parties. They will then make a ruling on the issues of child custody, child support, spousal support, property division, and any other issues. The court may grant a default judgment if one spouse does not appear at the hearing.
  3. Court RulingOnce the court has ruled on the issues, it will enter a judgment of dissolution of marriage. This judgment is the legal document that officially ends the marriage. The judgment contains the court’s decisions on all the issues. It also provides the parties with a final decree of dissolution of marriage.
  4.  Marital SettlementIn some cases, the court may also require the parties to enter into a marital settlement agreement. This is a legally binding document that resolves any remaining issues not addressed in the judgment. This agreement is used to address any remaining issues, including property division, child custody, and child support arrangements.
  5. Dissolution of MarriageOnce the judgment and/or settlement agreement have been signed by the court, the marriage is officially dissolved. The parties will be legally single and may begin the process of filing their separate taxes and other financial matters. It is important to note that the divorce process in Illinois is permanent and cannot be reversed.

Joint Simplified Dissolution

Couples who meet certain qualifications can qualify for a joint simplified dissolution, which is an expedited divorce. There are several qualifications:

  • Neither spouse can seek support.
  • At least one spouse must meet the residency requirement.
  • The marriage must be irreconcilably broken.
  • There can be no children involved.
  • The marriage cannot have lasted longer than 8 years.
  • An agreement on pet ownership must have been predetermined.

Additionally, financial requirements include:

  • Combined retirement benefits and interest in real property do not exceed $10,000.
  • The fair market value of marital property, excluding debts, must be less than $50,000.
  • The combined yearly gross income must be no greater than $60,000.
  • Neither spouse can earn more than $30,000 in gross annual income.
  • There must be a written agreement that divides assets worth more than $100.


Q: How Long Does the Divorce Process Take in Illinois?

A: The divorce process in Illinois takes longer in some cases than it does in others. It largely depends on the complexity of the case and the court's schedule. If the parties can reach an agreement on all issues, the process may be shorter. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement and the case goes to trial, the process can take longer. Additionally, the court may take additional time to issue a judgment if the parties disagree about any of the issues. If the divorce is contested, it can take up to two years for a final dissolution to be ordered by a judge.

Q: What Is the Wife Entitled to in a Divorce in Illinois?

A: In a divorce in Illinois, the wife is typically entitled to a division of marital property. This includes assets and debts acquired during the marriage. The court will consider a number of factors when determining the division of assets and debts, such as:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The contributions of each spouse to the marital estate
  • The economic circumstances of each spouse

The court may also award alimony or maintenance to one spouse, depending on the circumstances. Additionally, the court may award child support. This is intended to provide for the financial needs of any minor children involved with the divorce.

Q: How Long Do You Have to Be Separated Before You Can Get a Divorce in Illinois?

A: In Illinois, spouses must live separately for six months before filing for divorce. In some cases, this can be waived if both parties come to a mutual agreement. If you are unsure of the requirements, it is best to consult a family law attorney. They can advise you on the best course of action and timeframe.

Q: How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Illinois?

A: Fees are set by county for Illinois divorces. In Lake County, for instance, the fee for a dissolution of marriage filing is $334. There are also attorney fees, which can include consultation fees from other professionals. In total, an Illinois divorce can cost between $11,000 and $14,000. It is always best to discuss fees with your attorney to ensure consistent representation for the duration of your case.

Divorce Attorney in Illinois

Hiring a divorce attorney or family law mediator can help you understand the divorce process in Illinois. They can ensure that you file all the necessary paperwork properly. By providing experience-based legal advice, a divorce lawyer can guide you through the complex divorce process, giving you advice along the way. An attorney can also help you protect your rights and ensure that your interests are represented in the divorce process.

If you are ready to begin the divorce process, contact Vahey Law & Mediation, LLC, to discuss your case today.


Let's Talk




Women Owned


If you'd like to contact us by email, please fill out the form below and we'll get back to you within 24 hours.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

© 2022 Vahey Law & Mediation, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Digital Marketing By: