The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


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Does it Matter Who Files for Divorce First in Illinois?

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IL divorce lawyerDivorce is an emotionally challenging process, and it is crucial to understand the legal aspects involved to navigate it effectively. One commonly asked question is whether it matters who files for divorce first in Illinois. This blog post will explore the implications of being the first to file for divorce in Illinois, shedding light on the legal considerations that may arise during this crucial decision.

Does it Matter if You File First?

In Illinois, it makes no difference who initiates the divorce process because it is a no-fault divorce state. This means neither person has to provide a reason for the divorce other than “irreconcilable differences.” Therefore, filing first does not provide any legal advantage.

However, being the petitioner has certain benefits, such as starting the case in the county you prefer if the parties live in separate counties. From a legal standpoint, filing for divorce before your spouse does has little official advantage. The decision to file first is more about confidence and strategy.

Understanding No-Fault Divorce in Illinois

In Illinois, you can get a divorce without proving that one person is at fault. You just need to show that you and your spouse have “irreconcilable differences.” However, to get a no-fault divorce, you and your spouse must live apart for at least six months, and both of you must agree that there are irreconcilable differences.

Divorces can be granted without placing blame on either spouse in Illinois. Adultery, cruelty, abandonment, impotence, drunkenness, or substance abuse are no longer valid reasons for divorce. Instead, if both spouses acknowledge irreconcilable differences, they can file a petition for divorce and work towards a settlement before the marriage ends.

If one spouse contests the divorce petition, they can still get divorced if they have been separated for at least half a year. This proves they have irreconcilable differences, and the divorce will be granted.

How Can Filing for Divorce First Potentially Impact Child Custody Arrangements

In Illinois, filing for divorce before the other parent does not affect the determination of child custody. The court examines each parent’s involvement in the child’s life and decides based on the child’s welfare. The order in which custody or divorce papers are filed does not confer any legal benefits. The judge’s decision will depend on the evidence presented and what is in the child’s best interest.

Contact an Illinois Family Law Attorney

Divorce is undoubtedly a challenging journey, both emotionally and legally. Having a North Aurora divorce lawyer on your side is ideal for helping you fine-tune your case’s details and ensure you are on the right path. Call The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. at 630-409-8184 to discuss your options.


The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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