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Can I Get a Divorce in Illinois if I Cannot Afford to Move?

Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton lawyer for filing for divorceCOVID-19 has deeply affected millions of Americans. Many have faced job loss or reduced work hours because of shutdowns. Others have had to quit their jobs to be at home with their children during remote learning. If you are in a difficult financial position and want to file for divorce, you may have concerns about how your financial hardship may affect your situation. You may have heard that there was a mandatory separation period before a couple could get divorced but are unsure of what exactly is required. If you and your ex cannot afford to live in separate homes, can you still be granted a divorce?

Changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act Address the Separation Period

Major changes to the laws that govern marriage and divorce in Illinois were enacted in 2016. Among the many changes was a modernization of the “grounds” or reasons that a spouse may request a divorce. Before the changes, spouses could claim fault-based grounds for divorce, such as impotence, infidelity, abuse, or drug addiction. Following the change, all of the fault-based grounds have been abolished.

There is now only one no-fault ground available for divorce in Illinois: irreconcilable differences. If you wish to file for divorce under no-fault grounds, you must state that:

  • Irreconcilable differences have led to the breakdown of the marriage

  • You and your spouse have attempted to reconcile the relationship and failed

  • Further attempts at reconciliation would not be in the family’s best interests

Presently, there is no mandatory waiting period to get divorced in Illinois. However, in some cases, you may be required to live “separate and apart” for six months. If your spouse contests the divorce, this six month period is considered indisputable proof that you have met the criteria for “irreconcilable differences.”

What Does “Separate and Apart” Mean?

Fortunately, Illinois law does not require spouses to literally live in separate homes for at least six months before they may be granted a divorce. Illinois legislators understand that various circumstances can prevent a spouse from physically moving out of the marital home. Living separate and apart simply means that you and your spouse are no longer living as a married couple. This means that you are not sharing a bed, engaging in sexual conduct, or enjoying your free time together. If you cannot move out of your home, but you and your spouse no longer function as married partners, you may still be granted a divorce.

Contact a DuPage County, Illinois Divorce Lawyer

At The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C., we understand that COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on Illinois families. We are here to help you navigate divorce issues such as property division, child custody, and child support--even if those issues have been complicated by the pandemic. To learn more about our family law services, call us at 630-462-9500 and schedule a confidential consultation with a Wheaton divorce attorney.



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