If you and your spouse are having serious problems in your marriage, one of you may decide to find another place to stay while you figure out what to do next. You might, for example, stay with a family member so that you can gather your thoughts about how to proceed. This practice is so commonplace that many couples would not even consider a divorce while still sharing a home.
Just because something is a common practice, however, does not mean that it is a legal requirement. In fact, it may come as surprise to learn that Illinois law does not require any period of physical separation in most divorce cases.
Knowing the Law
Prior to 2016, a couple seeking a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences—colloquially known as a “no-fault divorce”—was required to live separate and apart for two years before the divorce could be finalized. By agreement of the parties, the separation period could be lessened to six months. While Illinois courts found that “living separate and apart” could theoretically occur under the same roof, most cases saw one spouse or the other move out the marital home for at least half a year prior to the divorce being finalized....