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Are You Required to Separate Before Divorcing in Illinois?

 Posted on June 12, 2020 in Divorce

Are You Required to Separate Before Divorcing in Illinois?Once you and your spouse have decided that you want to divorce, you likely want to start the process as soon as you are ready. Creating a divorce agreement can take months while you gather information, negotiate the terms, and wait for your court date. You may also wonder whether Illinois requires you to live separately before you can file for divorce. If you ask this question to someone who got divorced five or more years ago, they may tell you that they had to live separately for months or years before they could divorce. However, Illinois divorce law no longer requires spouses to live separately, though proving that you have already been separated can help in some cases.

How Separation Helps

Illinois practices no-fault divorce, meaning that spouses do not cite grounds such as infidelity for divorcing. Spouses will often, but not always, agree on filing for divorce. When a spouse disputes a divorce, the divorce filer only must prove that there are irreconcilable differences. Prior to 2016, Illinois required spouses who both agreed to divorce to live separately for six months before they could file. If they disagreed on getting a divorce, the separation requirement to prove irreconcilable differences was two years. However, Illinois changed its divorce law in 2016:

  • Spouses who both agree to divorce can file immediately.
  • If the spouses disagree, showing that they have lived separately for at least six months will create a presumption of irreconcilable differences.

Even without living separately, citing irreconcilable differences is fairly easy to prove to the court. Even if spouses disagree on whether their marriage can be salvaged, the court may rule that the disagreement is proof of irreconcilable differences.

What Is Living Separately?

When spouses separate before a divorce, one person typically moves out of their shared home, and the spouses have little contact outside of their shared parenting responsibilities or financial obligations. However, it is possible to prove that you lived separate and apart while still living in the same residence. You would need to explain how you acted as if you were effectively separated, such as:

  • Having separate living and sleeping areas within the home
  • Limiting your contact with each other in shared living areas
  • Practicing a shared parenting schedule

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

Filing for a dissolution of marriage in Illinois is a quicker process than it once was but still requires the guidance of a lawyer. A Naperville, Illinois, divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., will help you get started on the divorce process. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.


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