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Kevin O'Flaherty

In this article, we discuss the “waiting period” for filing for divorce in Illinois and answer the following questions:

  • If I move from another state how long do I have to wait to file for divorce in Illinois?
  • Do I need to be “separated” from my spouse for a while before filing for divorce?
  • Should I be aware of any other jurisdictional issues before filing for divorce in Illinois?

Jurisdictional idiosyncrasies exist in nearly every region creating a labyrinthine legal framework that shifts from state to state and county to county, requiring us to spend extra time doing research on the law or seeking out legal counsel. Divorce exists within this maze of mandates, articles, and stipulations with confounding rules such as the “waiting period.” But don’t worry, we’re here to help! 

If I Move From Another State How Long Do I Have To Wait To File For Divorce In Illinois?

The Illinois statute covering relocation and divorce mandates that an individual resides in Illinois for 90 days before filing for divorce. That means if you moved to Illinois August 1st, you must maintain your residence until November 1st before filing for divorce. The Judge’s prove-up form that must be filled out contains a checkbox indicating that you have been living in Illinois for at least 90 days and/or that you have resided in your Illinois residence for at least 90 days since the date of entry of the divorce. This creates a plausible argument for dismissal when one spouse moves and attempts to file divorce from another state, such as one spouse filing in Tennessee and another filing in Illinois. Generally, if the goal is a smooth divorce with few issues it’s best to file and complete the proceedings before moving to another state.

Do I Need To Be Separated From My Spouse For A While Before Filing For Divorce? 

Illinois requires that parties seeking divorce allege they have been separated for at least six months before filing. This six month period also assumes irreconcilable differences between the couple lead to the breakdown of the marriage and thus the separation. Illinois law does not require that the parties seeking divorce live separately during the six month period, but it does require that the breakdown in the marriage to have started more than 6 months before filing. Any attempts at reconciliation are not counted against the 6 months period. This allows Illinois couples strongly considering divorce to attempt reconciliation without being concerned that they may end up having to wait another 6 months before filing. 

Should I Be Aware Of Other Jurisdictional Issues Before Filing For Divorce In Illinois?

Yes. When considering divorce the first step should be seeking out the guidance of an experienced divorce attorney. He or she can explain any jurisdictional concerns and create a plan with realistic expectations you can follow. The last thing you want is to have your divorce denied due to a trivial county-related issue that could have easily been avoided if you had the proper help. If you have any questions about getting divorced in Illinois give us a call at 630-324-6666.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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