In some states, a divorce requires one of the spouses to prove that the other spouse is at fault for the marriage’s demise.

However, many states allow spouses to file for divorce in a way that doesn’t place blame on either party. These are called no-fault divorces. So, is Illinois a no-fault divorce state?

As of January 1, 2016, following the implementation of Public Act 99-90, Illinois became a no-fault divorce state. This act eliminated all fault-based grounds for divorce, including adultery, mental or physical cruelty, abandonment, impotence, habitual drunkenness, and substance abuse. This means that couples seeking a divorce in Illinois no longer need to prove fault in order to obtain a divorce, making the process simpler and less contentious.

What Does No-Fault Divorce Actually Mean?

Some states require that you have grounds or a reason for divorce. These grounds are an attempt to place blame or fault for the break up onto one of the spouses. For example, common fault grounds for divorce include adultery or abuse.

In these types of cases, a spouse must prove in court that the other spouse committed the alleged bad action. Unfortunately, this fault-based divorce system requires discussing a great deal of highly personal information in court. 

Conversely, in a no-fault divorce, the reason for the split is that the spouses don’t get along, and there’s no hope of reconciling. In Illinois, the law calls this inability to get along “irreconcilable differences.”

Within Illinois’ no-fault divorce laws, there’s no need to blame either spouse for the marriage breakdown. All you need to do is inform the court that the parties no longer wish to be married. 

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Are There Fault Divorces in Illinois?

Illinois law no longer provides for divorces that place blame on a spouse. The only ground for divorce is “irreconcilable differences.” This means that neither spouse’s bad actions are considered during a divorce.

How to Obtain a No-Fault Divorce in Illinois

You must fulfill some essential prerequisites before filing for an Illinois no-fault divorce.

No-Fault Requirements 

For a no-fault divorce, you must show that you and your spouse have lived separately for six months or longer. A court does not require that one spouse move out if you can demonstrate that you’ve been living under the same roof but as roommates rather than spouses.

Additionally, if it hasn’t been six months, but both spouses agree that they cannot fix their marriage, they can still get a divorce. Typically the court will not stop the divorce from proceeding if both parties agree that the marriage has broken down irreparably.


In addition to the no-fault requirements, you or your spouse must also meet residency requirements to get a divorce in Illinois. Either you or your spouse must reside in Illinois for at least 90 days before filing to obtain a divorce in Illinois. 

No-Fault Divorce Procedure

Although Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, this doesn’t mean that a divorce will be easy. You still need to go to court to obtain a divorce.

First, you must file for divorce in the county where one of you resides. The Illinois Supreme Court has general forms that you can use for divorce. Be sure to note that different forms exist for couples with or without children. If you are the plaintiff filing the original divorce paperwork, you’ll then have to ensure your spouse receives the divorce notice.

As a part of starting the divorce process, you’ll have to gather your financial information, such as documentation for bank accounts, real estate, property, and debt. The parties can agree to a division of marital assets, or if they cannot agree, a judge will equitably distribute the assets.

You’ll also decide how to allocate parental responsibilities if you have children. This includes who will be primarily responsible for important decisions concerning your child and how much time the child will spend with each parent. You can file a parenting plan with your divorce or within 120 days of your first court appearance. 

You could resolve your case quickly if you and your spouse agree to the division of marital assets and child custody. If you disagree, however, you may have to go to trial. An experienced family attorney will help you negotiate a divorce settlement or represent you at a trial.

How Long Does a No-Fault Divorce Take in Illinois?

Generally, a no-fault divorce takes 3-6 months to complete. However, some may take longer depending on the circumstances, lasting upwards of a year. That being said, there isn’t a mandatory waiting period for a no-fault divorce in Illinois, so the process is often quicker than a contested divorce.

Hire Our Experienced Attorneys for Your Illinois No-Fault Divorce

A no-fault divorce seems easier than trying to establish who is to blame for something as complex as a marriage breakdown. But just because it’s easier than a fault-based divorce, navigating a no-fault divorce can still be complicated and full of conflict.

You need affordable Illinois no-fault divorce attorneys who will fight for your best interests without leaving you penniless. The Vantage Group Legal Services provides access to seasoned and affordable divorce attorneys by enrolling in our subscription service.

Contact us today for a free no-obligation consultation.

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