Divorce Law in Illinois

By Mike Broemmel
Overview of Illinois divorce law
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Divorce laws in Illinois are codified in Chapter 5 of the Illinois Compiled Statues. Illinois divorce laws cover everything from initiating divorce proceedings to addressing division of assets and other issues associated with the dissolution of a marriage.


Both fault and no-fault divorce is permitted by Illinois divorce law. The dual system permits the filing of a petition for dissolution of marriage based on specific allegations of fault or merely upon a claim of irreconcilable differences.

No-Fault Divorce

The general rule is that spouses seeking a no-fault divorce must live apart for at least two years prior to a judgment of divorce. In the alternative, the couple seeking divorce can live apart for at least six months before the date the judgment is entered dissolving the marriage, provided the spouses waive the two-year requirement.

Irreconcilable Differences

In an Illinois no-fault divorce, irreconcilable differences are defined as being conflicts so significant that there is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

Fault Divorce

There are nine claims of fault sufficient for obtaining a divorce, according to Illinois Complied Statutes. These include: natural impotence, bigamy, adultery, desertion and habitual drunkenness. Other legal justifications are excessive use of addictive drugs, conviction of extreme mental or physical cruelty, a felony conviction or infection with a sexually transmitted disease.

Equitable Distribution

Illinois adopted an equitable distribution standard in regard to dividing property during a divorce. Equitable distribution is a broad concept that directs the divorce court to divide property in a "fair manner." Fair is determined at the judge's discretion on a case by case basis.

About the Author

Mike Broemmel began writing in 1982. He is an author/lecturer with two novels on the market internationally, "The Shadow Cast" and "The Miller Moth." Broemmel served on the staff of the White House Office of Media Relations. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and political science from Benedictine College and a Juris Doctorate from Washburn University. He also attended Brunel University, London.