Illinois Divorce: 7 Key Facts Every Couple Should Know

If you are considering a divorce in Illinois, you probably have many questions about what happens once your marriage ends. Everything from who gets the house to the visitation schedule for any children are all impacted by Illinois law. Because divorce laws can vary greatly from state to state, it’s important to understand the nuances of Illinois divorce law by exploring the following 7 key facts which every couple should know:

Illinois is a no-fault state

As of January 2016, Illinois is a no-fault state. This means that the only grounds for divorce in Illinois is irreconcilable differences. The parties must show that there is an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage.

Residency requirement

A petition for divorce can be filed without a waiting period, as long as one of the parties legally resides in the state. Before the divorce can be granted, however, one spouse must have resided in Illinois for 90 days prior to the judgment.


Before a divorce will be granted in Illinois, the court must rule and/or couples must have reached an agreement on the following issues:

  • Division of property
  • Division of debts
  • The amount and duration of spousal maintenance, if applicable
  • Parenting Responsibilities & Parenting Time, if applicable
  • Child support

Division of property

Illinois is an equitable distribution state: this means that the couple’s property will be divided in a way that is fair, but not necessarily equal. The marital property to be divided includes anything that was acquired during the marriage, except for gifts, inheritance, and property excluded by a premarital agreement.

Parenting Responsibilities & Parenting Time (Custody and visitation)

In Illinois, the term “visitation” has been replaced with “parenting time” and the term “custody” has been replaced with “parenting responsibilities.” Both require the court to consider what arrangement is in the best interest of the child. After filing for divorce, all parents must file a parenting plan, either jointly or separately, with the court.

Child support

Under current Illinois law, the parent who is not the residential parent will pay child support in the amount of 20% of their income for one child and 28% for two children. Exceptions to this calculation can be made and the amount can be modified if appropriate. However, effective July 2017, Illinois is changing to an income-share model of calculation, which looks at a number of comprehensive factors to determine an appropriate amount of child support.


The court may or may not require one spouse to pay the other maintenance. The amount of maintenance that will be awarded is statutory and is calculated thusly: 30% of the payor spouse’s gross income minus 20% of the payee spouse’s income. The length of time for which maintenance will be paid depends upon the length of the marriage.

Effective and compassionate Illinois divorce representation

Lake Cook Legal Solutions, LLC provides effective and compassionate Illinois divorce representation. For more information on how we can help with your divorce, please visit us online at or contact our office by telephone at (847) 387-5559.

Written by Lake Cook Legal Solutions, LLC

Lake Cook Legal Solutions, LLC

Lake Cook Legal Solutions has been helping people throughout Lake, Cook, McHenry, and DuPage counties since 2012. We focus our practice on matters involving Illinois families—namely Family Law and Estate Planning.