Grounds and Separation Requirements

No Fault Grounds

Illinois is currently a “no fault” state.  This means that the person filing for divorce does not need to allege marital misconduct.

  • Two Year Separation Requirement: In Illinois, to proceed using no-fault grounds (“irreconcilable differences”) the parties must live “separate and apart” for at least two years before their case may be concluded. “Separate and apart” does not necessarily mean a physical separation.The two-year waiting requirement can be waived if both parties sign a special         waiver form.
  • Six Month Separation Requirement:  In Illinois, to proceed using no-fault grounds (“irreconcilable differences”), even if the two-year requirement is waived, the parties must still live “separate and apart” for at least six months before the case may be finalized. “Separate and apart” does not necessarily mean a physical separation.

Fault Grounds

“Fault” divorce is one in which one party blames the other for the failure of the marriage by citing a wrongdoing. Grounds for fault can include adultery, physical or mental cruelty, desertion (over 1 year), habitual drunkenness or drug addiction (over 2 years), insanity, impotence or infecting the other spouse with a venereal disease.

In most instances, the presence of marital misconduct is not taken into account when determining a division of property, child support or custody.

Generally, for fault grounds, other than as noted above, there is no mandatory separation period.  These periods of separation cannot be waived.