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Is separation necessary to divorce in Illinois?

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2024 | Divorce

When a marriage reaches a point where reconciliation seems unlikely, couples may consider ending their union through divorce. However, some may be uncertain as to whether separation is necessary before they could obtain divorce in their state.

In Illinois, as in many states, the path to divorce is not always straightforward. Nonetheless, the state is clear as to how its divorce process runs.

Not a solid requirement

In Illinois, spouses can generally file for divorce if after living separately for at least six months, they can no longer recover their relationship. However, this rule is not absolute. Spouses can waive the separation requirement by agreement. Hence, legal separation is not a requirement for spouses to obtain a divorce.

As long as the spouses meet the residency requirements and can sufficiently prove that their marriage is irretrievably broken, they can file a petition to dissolve the union without living separately and after prior to the filing.

A proof of irreconcilability

Nonetheless, it does not mean that separation does not affect divorce at all. Spouses living separately and apart can be a demonstrable proof that they can no longer reconcile and that their marriage is broken beyond repair. When spouses live separately for a significant amount of time, it can provide them time to reconsider their relationship and attempt reconciliation. However, if despite that period the spouses fail to reconcile, then it serves as tangible evidence of the marriage’s breakdown.

Finding a suitable path through reliable guidance

Ultimately, the decision to live separately before divorce is a personal one and may depend on the unique circumstances surrounding a marriage. Nonetheless, spouses considering divorce may want to consult with a legal professional to understand their rights and options, and to choose the best path forward based on their situation.

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