Do We Have To Be Separated Six Months Before We Can File?
You can file even if you haven’t been separated for one minute. Illinois law does not require you to be separated before you can file for divorce.
Many people think that a six month separation is required before they can file for divorce. This wasn’t true under the old law, and it isn’t true under the current law.
However, “Six months” is mentioned in our statute. It only applies when one of the spouses does not agree to the divorce. In this case, the court presumes that the parties have grounds for divorce under Irreconcilable Differences once the parties are separated six months. Otherwise, if both parties agree to the divorce, the moving party must merely go to court and allege Irreconcilable Differences, and the divorce will be granted even without any separation at all.
In any event, when a separation is required, the moving party need only establish that the parties have been separated for six months at the time of their trial or final hearing. The six month requirement has nothing to do with the time of filing the case.
Incidentally, the separation requirement does not necessarily mean that the parties must live under separate roofs.
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Richard and Kari are staunch advocates of the non-court approach to divorce, and are also active and seasoned litigators with over 70 years of combined trial experience in the Illinois divorce courts of Cook, DuPage, and Will counties.