Illinois Lawyer Referrals and Legal Guidance
Divorce 101 in Illinois
We want our website to be a place where you can get accurate and accessible information about Illinois law. We know that it can still be confusing and that sorting through all the information can be overwhelming. We are here to help.
You can always call us and talk to an attorney about your legal questions. If you would rather research your issue first, we have many pages on divorce topics, from child custody and visitation to property division and spousal maintenance.
If you’re looking for a quick overview, this page is for you. Here are some of the main issues that come up in an Illinois divorce:
- In order to get a divorce in Illinois, at least one spouse must have been a resident of Illinois for the past 90 days. You will file for divorce in the county where either you or your spouse lives.
- For a “no-fault” divorce (the most common), the law requires that you and your spouse live “separate and apart” for a certain amount of time, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to live in separate places. This requirement can be waived if both sides agree.
- While a divorce is pending, you can get temporary orders from the court on things like living arrangements, child custody, child support and spousal maintenance (alimony).
- Divorce attorneys usually charge by the hour and require a retainer at the beginning of the case. A retainer is a lump sum from which an attorney deducts their fee as they work on the case.
- A divorce can take anywhere from a couple of months to several years. Usually, it’s somewhere in the middle. The more you disagree, the longer it will probably take.
- Fault does not affect property division or child custody, even if one spouse cheated.
- All marital property is divided “equitably.” Any separate property (owned prior to the marriage or inherited) remains with the owner of that property.
- If you can’t agree on child custody and visitation, the judge will decide based on the “best interests of the child,” a standard that takes many factors into account, such as safety, community, support, etc. A child’s wishes may be considered if they are mature enough, but a child can’t choose which parent they want to live with.
- When a divorce is complete, there will be a final document outlining property division, child custody, visitation, child support, spousal maintenance, etc. Some couples can negotiate all of this outside of court, while others end up having a judge decide.
- If you want to change any terms of the divorce later on, you will have to go back to court. Many changes are only allowed if you can show a substantial change in circumstances. Property division is final.
- The process for ending a civil union in Illinois is the same as the process for getting a divorce in Illinois.
Let us know if you have questions about any of these points. You can contact us anytime and get a response quickly (usually right away and almost always within 24 hours). An attorney will go over your questions and help you decide what to do next.
If you need an attorney to handle your family law case, we will recommend one of the attorneys we know in your area – someone who has a solid reputation and track record of success. Your calls and e-mails are free and confidential.
Findgreatlawyers.com is a free service to help you if you need to hire an attorney or if you need guidance on any Illinois legal matter including Illinois divorce cases. Our service is run by Illinois lawyers, who are there to speak with you in strict confidence and answer your questions. Whether you need a Chicago divorce lawyer, or a family law attorney in any other part of Illinois, we can help you. Please call us at (312) 346-5320 or (800) 517-1614, or you can fill out our contact us form and we will contact you.