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Naperville divorce attorneyThe decision to end your marriage is likely one of the biggest decisions of your life. There is no “undoing” a divorce once it is finalized. Consequently, some states require married spouses to wait a certain amount of time before they can get divorced. Illinois used to have such a requirement; however, there is no longer a mandatory separation period or waiting period for divorce in Illinois. That being said, there are still certain criteria that must be met before you can divorce in Illinois.

Divorce Requirements and the Separation Period

To get divorced in Illinois, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for 90 days or longer. You may divorce in Illinois even if you were not married in the state.

Before changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, spouses also had to live apart for a certain period of time before they were eligible for divorce. In 2021, though, there is no longer a mandatory separation period. Furthermore, there are no longer fault-based grounds for divorce in Illinois. The only reason you can seek a divorce in Illinois is “irreconcilable differences.” In other words, you and your spouse simply cannot get along anymore, and you wish to terminate your marriage relationship.


Naperville divorce lawyerIf you are getting divorced, you may be completely unsure of what to expect. How long will the divorce take? Will I need to go to court? What steps are involved in the divorce process? Questions like these are important. While there is no way to predict exactly how your divorce case will unfold, educating yourself about the Illinois divorce process will help you prepare for the different possibilities. The “discovery” phase of the divorce involves gathering facts and information using discovery tools such as interrogatories and depositions.

Discovery Depends on the Spouses’ Transparency

Divorcing spouses are asked to fill out a financial disclosure form in which they list assets, income, and other financial data. If both spouses freely disclose accurate financial data and other relevant information, the discovery process involves little more than confirming this information. Unfortunately, in many divorce cases, spouses are not fully transparent about financial issues or other divorce concerns. They may refuse to disclose certain information, hide assets, or lie about parenting matters. Consequently, the spouses’ attorneys must use various legal methods to obtain this information and ensure its accuracy.

Types of Discovery Tools Your Attorney May Use to Gather Information

Interrogatories are formal questions that a divorce attorney may send the other spouse. Document Requests are, as the name states, requests for certain records or documents. You or your spouse may be asked to turn over bank account statements, retirement account or life insurance statements, credit card statements, tax returns, mortgage statements, property appraisals, and more.


Naperville divorce lawyerAlimony, spousal maintenance, and spousal support are all terms used to describe the financial assistance an individual provides to his or her spouse during or after divorce. In Illinois, you can request temporary spousal maintenance while your divorce is ongoing through a “temporary relief order.” You may also receive payments after the divorce is complete. However, spousal maintenance is not guaranteed, and many divorce cases conclude without a spousal maintenance order. Read on to learn about how, why, and when spousal maintenance is awarded in Illinois.

How Can You Get Spousal Support?

Spousal maintenance may be awarded to a spouse if the spouses agreed to maintenance in a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. The spouses may also reach an agreement on the amount and duration of maintenance payments during settlement negotiations in their divorce. Lastly, a spouse may request maintenance by filing a petition with the court.

When Does the Court Award Alimony?

Illinois courts make decisions about spousal maintenance by evaluating the spouses’ needs, financial circumstances, employability, and other relevant factors. The length of the marriage and the standard of living during the marriage also impact this decision significantly.  Maintenance is often awarded to a spouse if he or she gave up career or education opportunities to raise children or be a homemaker; however, maintenance decisions are made by evaluating the totality of circumstances.


Wheaton divorce attorneyWe typically think of marriage as a romantic partnership. However, marriage is also a legal relationship. When a married couple divorces, they will need to follow certain procedures to dissolve the legal marital relationship. If you are thinking about getting divorced in Illinois, you may wonder what the process entails. For example, you may wonder what the legal grounds for divorce are in Illinois, or whether there is a waiting period before you can file for divorce. The better educated you are about the divorce process in Illinois, the better prepared you will be to end your marriage on your terms.

Illinois is a “No-Fault” Divorce State

Sometimes, well-meaning friends and family members give inaccurate and outdated divorce advice. One reason that this happens is that laws are always changing. Prior to January 1, 2016, Illinois had two options for divorce: fault-based divorce and no-fault divorce. Fault-based grounds were things like infidelity or abuse. However, Public Act 99-90 eliminated all of the fault-based grounds for divorce in the state of Illinois.

Presently, there is only one possible “ground” or reason you can give when requesting a divorce: irreconcilable differences. To petition the court for a divorce, or “dissolution of marriage” in Illinois, you will assert that irreconcilable differences have led to the irreparable breakdown of your marriage.


DuPage County family law attorneyThere are many factors to consider during your Illinois divorce, and one that is frequently overlooked is how Social Security benefits are handled. Social Security benefits are more complicated than other retirement assets like a 401(k), because federal law prohibits assigning, dividing, or garnishing Social Security benefits. This means that state courts cannot even consider Social Security benefits in the division of marital property, because dividing and allocating them–even by anticipating a larger future benefit for one spouse and allocating marital property to the other spouse accordingly–would contradict federal law.

However, that does not mean that you are not entitled to your own Social Security benefits according to your former spouse’s benefits. Federal law does allow for certain circumstances in which a divorced wife or husband of an insured person is entitled to Social Security benefits based on their former spouse’s work record.

When Can I Qualify for Spousal Benefits After a Divorce?

Federal law will consider the following factors when determining whether you are eligible for benefits:

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