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Illinois Divorce Self-Help Center

Many customer Illinois divorce questions are answered here.  Browse from the topics below or use the search box to narrow your search.
 
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General Information State Procedures   Custody, Visitation, Support
  Property and Debts   Special Circumstances Additional Resources
STATE PROCEDURES
How much is the filing fee in Illinois? 1327
The filing fee charged by the Court is NOT included in the DivorceWriter price. The filing fee varies from county to county, but is typically $210.00-$320.00 in Illinois.

Note: The filing fee in Cook County for an uncontested divorce is approximately $560.00 as of July 2011.
How long does it usually take to get a divorce in Illinois? 169
It usually takes 30-60 days to get divorced in Illinois from the date of filing, although time may vary based on your judge's schedule.
Will either of us be required to attend a court hearing? 168
In a standard Illinois divorce, the Petitioner, which is the spouse that filed for divorce, must attend a hearing to finalize it. The Respondent is not required to attend. However, in a simplified divorce, both spouses must be present at the time the divorce is filed and both must be present at the divorce hearing.
What are the grounds for filing for divorce in Illinois? 1329
The no-fault ground for divorce in Illinois requires that irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and the court determines that efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.
How do I serve my spouse with the divorce papers in Illinois? 1343
In a standard Illinois divorce, the spouse who files for divorce takes care of getting copies of all documents to the other spouse by mailing or in person delivery. Additionally, the non-filing spouse will sign certain documents that the filing spouse will file with the Clerk. These documents tell the Court, among other things, that he or she has received notice of the divorce filing and that he or she does not object to proceeding with the divorce.
Do we qualify for a simplified Illinois divorce? 176
Requirements for simplified divorce:
  • At least once spouse must have resided in Illinois for at least ninety (90) days before filing for divorce.
  • Both spouses must be present when the divorce is filed.
  • Both spouses must attend the final hearing.
  • No children were born to the spouses nor were any children adopted during their relationship and wife is not pregnant.
  • The spouses have been married for less than eight (8) years prior to the filing.
  • Neither spouse has any legal interest in or right to real estate.
  • The total fair market value of all marital property, after deducting all encumbrances, is less than $10,000.
  • Neither party has a gross annual income in excess of $20,000. The total annual income of the parties is less than $35,000
  • Both spouses must attend the final hearing.
What is a simplified Illinois divorce? 175
Spouses who meet certain requirements may be eligible to obtain a simplified divorce. The divorce is considered simplified because it requires fewer documents and the hearing to finalize the divorce is usually scheduled quite soon, often on the day you file or within a week or two of the filing date.
What are the basic steps to getting a standard (non-simplified) divorce in Illinois? 1338
1. Both spouses review and sign their self-prepared DivorceWriter documents.
  • The procedures included in the standard DivorceWriter package give information on which spouse signs which documents as well as which signatures require notarization.
2. File documents with the Clerk.

3. Attend the final hearing.
  • In standard divorces, only the Petitioner--i.e. the spouse that filed for divorce--is required to attend.
  • Assuming that both spouses have agreed to waive the two-year period of living separate and apart down to six months, and assuming the six-month period of living separate and apart has passed by the time of the hearing, the divorce is usally finalized at the hearing.
4. File the vital statistics form that goes to the State as a formal record of the divorce.

The procedures included with the DivorceWriter package explain the process in greater detail.
What are the residency requirements for filing for divorce in Illinois? 171
The spouse that files for divorce is the Petitioner. The other spouse automatically becomes the Respondent. Either spouse can file for divorce in Illinois as long as at least one spouse has lived in Illinois for at least 90 days before divorce is filed.

While an out-of-state spouse is entitled to file for divorce in Illinois based on the other spouse having lived there for at least 90 days, it is usually easier for the resident spouse to file since he or she probably lives closer to the Clerk's office and courthouse.
What documents are included in the standard (non-Cook County) Illinois DivorceWriter package? 1334
  • Divorce Filing Procedures
  • Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (3 copies)
  • Entry of Appearance, Waiver, and Consent (3 copies)
  • Marital Settlement Agreement (3 copies)
  • Financial Affidavit (Petitioner) (2 copies)
  • Financial Affidavit (Respondent) (2 copies)
  • Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage (3 copies)


In addition, customers with minor or legally dependent children will also receive:
  • Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Affidavit (UCCJEA) (3 copies)
  • Parenting Plan (3 copies)
What are the basic steps to getting a simplified divorce in Illinois? 1339
1. Both spouses review and sign all self-prepared DivorceWriter documents. 2. Both spouses must go together to file documents with the Clerk.

3. Attend the final hearing.
  • In simplified divorces, both spouses are required to attend.
  • Assuming that both spouses have agreed to waive the two-year period of living separate and apart down to six months, and assuming the six-month period of living separate and apart has passed by the time of the hearing, the divorce is usally finalized at the hearing.
  • Often the simplified divorce hearing will be held on the same day you file or within a few days after filing.
4. File the vital statistics form that goes to the State as a formal record of the divorce.

The procedures included with the DivorceWriter package explain the process in greater detail.
In which county can the divorce be filed? 170
The divorce can be filed in a county where either spouse lives at the time the divorce is filed.
What documents are included in the standard Cook County DivorceWriter package? 1335
  • Divorce Filing Procedures
  • Domestic Relations Cover Sheet (1 copy)
  • Appearance (3 copies)
  • Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (3 copies)
  • Certification and Agreement (3 copies)
  • Petitioner's Disclosure Statement (2 copies)
  • Respondent's Disclosure Statement (2 copies)
  • Marital Settlement Agreement (3 copies)
  • Uniform Support Order (3 copies)
  • Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage (3 copies)


In addition, customers with minor or legally dependent children will also receive:
  • Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Affidavit (UCCJEA) (3 copies)
  • Parenting Plan (3 copies)
  • Family Support Affidavit (3 copies)
What documents are included in the simplified Illinois DivorceWriter package? 1337
  • Divorce Filing Procedures
  • Joint Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage (3 copies)
  • Joint Affidavit Regarding Separation of the Parties, Division of Property, and Waiver of Bifurcated Hearing (3 copies)
  • Agreement as to Assets and Debts (3 copies)
  • Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage (3 copies)
What is considered to be the date of separation in Illinois? 1983
The separation date is the date that you and your spouse began living separate and apart.

In Illinois, the no-fault grounds for divorce is met when irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and efforts at reconciliation have failed or future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.

If you and your spouse have lived separate and apart for at least six months, the court assumes that irreconcilable differences exist and you do not have to prove that you can no longer get along. You can still get divorced if you and your spouse have NOT been separated for less than six months, but you may have to show the judge that you can no longer get along. However, it is very unlikely that the judge will require any additional evidence.
Where do I file the divorce documents in Illinois? 1332
Divorces are filed at the Circuit Court Clerk's office in the county of filing.
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CUSTODY, VISITATION, SUPPORT
What is "allocation of parental responsibility?" 190
In 2016, Illinois law changed to abolish terms like "custody" and "visitation." Instead, Illinois uses "allocation of parental responsibility." What was previously called "physical custody" is now referred to as "allocation of parental responsibility--parenting time" and what was previously called "legal custody" is now referred to as "allocation of parental responsibility--decision-making."

More information on allocation of parental responsibility in Illinois is available at: 750 ILCS 5/.
How is child support calculated in Illinois? 177
Based on the information provided by the customer when completing this online interview, the standard child support amount is automatically calculated and included in your self-prepared DivorceWriter package.

The standard calculation for Illinois is set by the Illinois legislature as follows:
# Children% Net Income
120%
228%
332%
440%
545%
6+50%
750 ILCS 5/505
What are acceptable factors for setting child support at an amount that is different from the guideline amount? 172
According to the Illinois Compiled Statutes:
"The guidelines shall be applied in each case unless the court makes a finding that application of the guidelines would be inappropriate, after considering the best interests of the child in light of evidence including but not limited to one or more of the following relevant factors:
  • the financial resources and needs of the child;
  • the financial resources and needs of the custodial parent;
  • the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved;
  • the physical and emotional condition of the child, and his educational needs; and
  • the financial resources and needs of the non custodial parent.


If the court deviates from the guidelines, the court's finding shall state the amount of support that would have been required under the guidelines, if determinable. The court shall include the reason or reasons for the variance from the guidelines." 750 ILCS 5/505
Where can I find more information about child support in Illinois? 178
Additional information on the calculation of child support can be found at: 750 ILCS 5/505.
What if my children live in another state and we already have a court order or informal arrangement concerning child support and parenting time? 3831
If you want to have the court issue an order as part of the divorce concerning child support and parenting time, it usually can't be done in a state other than the state where the children live. However, if you and your spouse already have a court order in another state concerning child support and parenting time, or if you have an informal agreement on those matters and are not concerned about resolving those issues through the divorce, it may not be a problem.

If you wish to proceed with a divorce in a state different than where the children are located, you may wish to log back in to your DivorceWriter account and select "no minor children" on the first page of the online interview. This will result in you receiving documents for a divorce without children. Then, carefully review all documents and revise the portions that state there are no minor children to instead list the names, dates of birth, and current physical address of each child as well as the length of time the child(ren) have been at that address. The terms of any existing court orders concerning the children should be explained in the same sections where the information on the children is listed and a copy of the order should be attached to the divorce petition when it is filed. If there is no court order, but the parents have an informal agreement on these matters, that information may be listed in this section.

DivorceWriter documents may be downloaded in Microsoft Word and self-customized as needed. DivorceWriter cannot assist you with document customization.
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PROPERTY AND DEBTS
Can we customize our documents to fit our plans for our real estate? 597
The DivorceWriter online interview allows customers to list not only the street address, c... more
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SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
I live in Cook County. Where do I file? 1344
Cook County filers may choose whichever location is most convenient for filing their documents, regardless of where they live within the county.

Main Office
  • Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court, Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington Street, Room 802, Chicago, IL 60602, (312) 603-6300

Suburban Districts
  • Second Municipal District Courthouse, 5600 Old Orchard Road, Room 136, Skokie, IL 60077, (847) 470-7250
  • Third Municipal District Courthouse, 2121 Euclid Avenue, Room 121, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008 (847) 818-3000
  • Fourth Municipal District Courthouse, 1500 Maybrook Avenue, Room 236, Maywood, IL 60153, (708) 865-6040
  • Fifth Municipal District Courthouse, 10220 South 76th Avenue, Room 121, Bridgeview, IL 60455, (708) 974-6500
    Sixth Municipal District Courthouse, 16501 South Kedzie Parkway, Room 119, Markham, IL 60428, (708) 210-4551
What if one spouse is living in a foreign country? 733
If your spouse is able to receive documents in the mail and is willing to sign and return ... more
What if one spouse is in the military? 803
If both parties are willing to sign the papers, ending your marriage when a spouse is in t... more
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CUSTOMER SERVICE
If unable to find help on this page, issues of a non-legal nature may be directed to customer service.
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