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How to File for Divorce in Illinois

Article written by Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
October 28, 2019

In this article, we will explain how to file for divorce in Illinois. Divorce is a difficult time for many people. Emotions are all over the place, finances are stretched and stress levels are at an all-time high. We understand that a divorce is one of life’s most challenging experiences and we want to make the process easier to understand by simplifying the process for you.

In order to file for divorce in Illinois, either spouse must have lived or resided in the state for at least 90 days.  To begin the process of divorce, the first thing you have to do file the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.  The person who files for the Petition is called the Petitioner and their spouse is called the Respondent.

In 2016, Illinois became a no-fault divorce state, meaning that irreconcilable differences is the only grounds for divorce.   If both parties agree that there exist irreconcilable differences, then the parties need not live separate and apart prior to commencing the divorce.  If one party does not agree, then the parties must live separate and apart for 6 months prior to the divorce.  

The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage declares the grounds upon which the dissolution of marriage is being requested, along with basic information about current living arrangements, and any children of the marriage. The Petition may be filed in the Circuit Court where either spouse lives.

Once the Petition is filed, the other spouse must be notified that the Petition has been filed.  This is accomplished by serving the other party with a file-stamped copy of the petition along with a summons specifying the time and location of the first court date by sheriff or special process server.  

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