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Do the uncontested divorce forms in Illinois require that you be separated from your spouse for a certain amount of time?

Chicago, IL |

I am a male seeking to obtain a divorce from my wife of 12 years. About a year ago we were separated for 2 years; however, in July '08, we moved back together because she ran into some financial difficulty. We have both decided to terminate our marriage but once I reviewed the papers that I obtained from the courthouse, I saw that there is a space listed to enter the time that you and your spouse have been separated. Technically we have not been separated in the last year and I would like to know whether separation is required and, if not, what I should put in the space that requires that information. Thank you.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. If you are filing a divorce against her, you can plead mental cruelty and then, at the time of the divorce, amend the grounds to irreconcilable differences in addition to your wife signing a waiver of the two year waiting period.


  2. For irreconcilable differences, you must be separated for a period of 6 months, and must sign a Waiver of the Two Year waiting period. For mental cruelty (and most other grounds), there is no required period of separation.


  3. Although there is a required separation period (at least six months), it doesn't necessarily mean you have to be living in different residences. Illinois courts have defined "separate and apart" to include living under the same roof but as if you were living separate and apart.

    So, if your wife moved back in for financial reasons, you may have a good argument that you were still separated during this time. If this is the case, and you considered yourselves separated despite being in the same household for the past year, you could write in that you have been separated for three years.

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