Illinois Lawyer Referrals and Legal Guidance
Filing for Divorce in Illinois: Residency Requirements
There are a few residency requirements to file for divorce in the State of Illinois.
You or your spouse must be a resident of Illinois
The most basic requirement is that either you or your spouse must be a resident of Illinois. The location or State of your marriage does not matter. For example, if you and your spouse were married in California, you can still file for divorce in Illinois as long as one of you has their primary residence here. What this also means, however, is that even if you were married in Illinois, if you and your spouse both maintain residency elsewhere, you cannot file for divorce in Illinois.
Have you or your spouse had primary residence in Illinois for at least 90 days?
To have legal residency in Illinois, you must have an address that you declare as your primary residence for at least 90 days. This includes either you or your spouse being stationed in Illinois as a member of the armed services, so long as the military presence has been maintained for 90 days. Note that if you are in the process of moving to Illinois you can technically file for divorce and state in the filing that your intentions are to live in Illinois for more than 90 days before the case ends. However, that filing can be challenged and often is a basis for having the filing thrown out.
What do you mean by primary residence?
Basically, it means where you live. Do you receive mail at that residence? Do you vote in that jurisdiction? Is it your primary residence on your taxes?
What county are you filing in?
The last residency requirement is that you must file within the appropriate county. If only your spouse is an Illinois resident, then you would file within the county where your spouse resides. If both you and your spouse maintain residency in Illinois (and both reside in different counties), then you could file in either county.
Why does any of this matter?
If the court later discovers that it did not have jurisdiction and the other side makes an objection, your case will be dismissed or the divorce order deemed void. You do not want to have to go through the whole process again because you failed to choose the proper venue at the start of your case.
Does this sound confusing? It can be. If you have any questions about Illinois divorce residency requirements or would like an attorney referral, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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