Do We Have to be Separated Six Months?

In our Oak Brook and DuPage County divorce law firm, perhaps the most commonly asked question that prospective clients ask us is, “Do we have to be separated six months before we can file for divorce?

The answer is NO.

If you did not know the answer to this question, it is not your fault. It is the fault of the Illinois legislature. Our lawmakers confused everyone when it passed a hybrid no-fault law that only divorce lawyers can understand.

To explain it in the easiest way we know how, we have to start by letting you know that there are eleven (11) grounds for divorce in Illinois. One of these grounds is Irreconcilable Differences, which is Illinois’ version of No-Fault.

In most other states, people merely need to go to court and tell the judge that they want a divorce and that no one is at fault. The same is true in Illinois, but in Illinois, you also have to prove that you have been separated for two years, or for six months if both parties agree to use no-fault as their ground.

Let’s say that one party wants the divorce and one doesn’t. If the moving party does not have one of the other ten grounds for divorce, then the only way he or she can get the divorce is to wait until they are separated for two years. Then, the other spouse cannot stop the divorce from happening.

However, if at any time after six months of separation the reluctant spouse consents to the divorce, the parties do not have to wait two years and can divorce at that point in time.You do not actually have to reside in different residences or have different addresses during the separation period. The court can consider you as separated even if you have continued to live under the same roof. Generally, and depending upon the individual judge, some degree of evidence regarding the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage must be introduced.

Learn more about Things to Consider at the Start of Your Divorce.

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