As you might already know, the divorce procedure, costs, and time can differ greatly from state to state. There are no federal divorce laws in the United States. So, it is important to understand the requirements and procedures specific to the state you live in.
This article is part of our series on how to file for divorce in different states. It’s a question that a lot of people seeking a divorce want to know. In this series, you’ll learn about the specifics for each state when it comes to filing for divorce.
If you reside in Illinois, this article is for you. We will share with you how you can file for divorce in the “Prairie State”.
How To File For Divorce In Illinois
There must be a legal ground for a divorce in Illinois. You can file for a divorce for the following fault grounds:
- Infecting the spouse with a sexually transmitted disease
- Intentional Desertion
- Abuse and cruel treatment
- Attempt to take the spouse’s life
- Felony conviction
- Drug or alcohol abuse
Illinois is also a no-fault divorce. A no-fault divorce can be filed by stating that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
1. Meet The Residency Requirements
Before you can file for a divorce in Illinois, you must first meet the residency requirements in this state. Valid residency in Illinois requires one of the spouses to have been a resident for a minimum of three months (or 91 days, to be exact) in the specific county where they want to file for the divorce.
2. Prepare Your Forms
Next, the second prerequisite for filing is to prepare the state required forms. The first form to complete is the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage form that can be found on The Illinois Supreme Court website.
Depending on the county where you or your spouse live, there may be additional forms required.
3. File For A Divorce
Next, you will officially file for the divorce in the county’s courthouse. At least one of the spouses must be present. After filing for your forms, you are required to pay a court fee.
The average filing fees in Illinois range between $200 and $350. If you cannot afford the filing fee, you may ask for a fee waiver.
4. Serve Your Forms
There are three ways in which you can serve your spouse the divorce complaint. These three ways are:
- Sheriff deputy
- Private process service
- Through a non-party at the age of 18
Once service is completed, it may take the office up to three weeks to serve your spouse. After this time, the spouse is given 30 days to respond in the state of Illinois. The spouse served has the agreed upon time to respond. If the divorce is filed outside of the state of Illinois, the time frame may be extended.
But what if your spouse is in jail, deployed in the military, or you cannot locate them?
You may have to try another way of serving your forms. You can ask the court clerk about support in these situations.
It is important to note that if your spouse filed a divorce against you, you should respond to the filing as quickly as possible. Otherwise, it is labeled as a default/uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce states that the spouse who failed to respond disagrees with the filing.
5. Disclose Your Finances
Last, in the divorce filing, both spouses must financially disclose information regarding the following:
- Mortgage expenses
- Credit card statements
Final Words on Filing for Divorce in Illinois
It is worth noting that the filing process and duration may be affected if there are any contested issues that must be resolved between the couple. In this case, the court may require mediation before the final hearing.
We hope that the information provided above clarifies the process of filing for divorce in the state of Illinois.