Important Time Periods for Divorces in Illinois

A well-known saying claims that “timing is everything.” This is certainly true in the context of an Illinois divorce. Built into the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act are specific time frames that must be complied with in order to obtain certain relief from the court hearing your divorce case. Failure to adhere to these time periods can result in a delay in obtaining your divorce or a dismissal of your case entirely.

Important Timelines and Time Periods

Couples looking to divorce in Illinois should be aware of the following time periods and timelines:

  • Zero days – the number of days you must wait after obtaining an Illinois divorce before you can remarry. Illinois is one of a number of states that do not require recently-divorced ex-spouses to wait any period of time before remarrying another person. In other words, you can obtain a decree of divorce in the morning and be married by the afternoon.
  • Ninety days – the period of time that one spouse must have resided in Illinois prior to the filing of the divorce. It is not necessary that both spouses live in Illinois for this time period, but the spouse that does reside in Illinois must reside there continuously for at least 90 days. For example, a spouse who has a home in Illinois and in Texas cannot live in Illinois for 10 days, spend the next 70 living at his home in Texas, and come back to Illinois for the remaining 10 days and then file for divorce.
  • Six months – if you are your spouse agree that you should divorce based on irreconcilable differences, you must live “separately and apart” for at least six months before the divorce can proceed. Note that if one spouse does not agree that irreconcilable differences exist, there is a longer period of living “separately and apart” that must be met (see below). Six months is also the amount of time a child must live in a state (any state) in order for that state to become the child’s “home state.” This is important if you move to a new state like Illinois following a divorce in another state and want the new state to be able to enter orders modifying certain things like custody orders.
  • Two years – if you and your spouse do not agree that irreconcilable differences exist that make continuing the marriage impossible, then you must live “separately and apart” for two years in order for your divorce to proceed on those grounds. If you and your spouse agree on the date you began living “separately and apart,” then the court will most likely use that date; if not, you must be prepared to present some evidence showing when you began living “separately and apart” and not as spouses.

Upcoming Changes

Here, it is important to consider the upcoming effects that SB 57 will have on the waiting period for divorce in Illinois. To be sure, SB 57, which will go into effect on January 1st, 2016, will no longer require couples to live separate and apart for a period of two years before pursuing a divorce. Instead, couples may use a six-month period of living separate and apart as a time to demonstrate the existence of irreconcilable differences. Furthermore, for uncontested divorces, the waiting period has been eliminated entirely. Couples who plan on divorcing after January 1st of next year should take these changes into consideration before acting.

Contact Abear Law Offices for Help with an Illinois Divorce

The experienced and knowledgeable DuPage County family attorneys at Abear Law Offices are able to help Illinois residents looking to file for divorce. By investigating your case prior to filing the actual divorce petition, we can ensure you have complied with the necessary time periods and that your case can proceed. Contact us to discuss your case today.