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Do I Have to Change My Residence in a Contested Divorce?

 Posted on July 06, 2024 in Divorce

Naperville, IL divorce lawyerNot all divorces are bitter and hostile. Some are relatively smooth and both spouses agree on all aspects of the divorce process, such as who should pay alimony, how to divide parental responsibilities, and how marital assets should be divided. This is called an uncontested divorce.

A contested divorce, on the other hand, is when spouses disagree on any elements of the divorce process. The couple may then be ordered to try to resolve their differences through mediation. If they cannot, they will proceed to litigate the issues in court.

In most contested divorces, spouses already live separately as they are going through the divorce process. A question that is sometimes asked, therefore, is whether one of the spouses must move away in a contested divorce. This article will discuss when a couple must separate and whether either spouse must change his or her residence. Keep in mind, however, that any questions about your specific divorce should be directed to an Illinois divorce attorney.

Do Couples Need to Separate in a Contested Divorce?

Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, which means the law will not blame either spouse for causing the divorce. In other words, a spouse does not need to have "grounds" for a divorce when he or she files for a dissolution of marriage. A court just needs to know that the couple has "irreconcilable differences."

Sometimes a spouse objects to a divorce and denies that there are irreconcilable differences, which is one way that a divorce becomes contested. When that happens, Illinois law requires that the couple live "separate and apart" for at least six months. After the six-month period, the law will consider the couple to have irreconcilable differences and the divorce process can move forward.

What Does "Separate and Apart" Mean?

When the law says that a couple must live "separate and apart" to automatically qualify as a couple with irreconcilable differences, it does not mean they cannot live under the same roof. Spouses can be considered separate and apart if they live separate lives. A court will look for signs of this, such as:

  • They do not sleep in the same bedroom.

  • They do not spend holidays together.

  • They do not have sexual relations.

  • They spend vacations separately.

  • They have separate bank accounts.

This means that neither spouse is required to move out of the house in a contested divorce. The parties can still be living separately and apart even if they share the same residence.

Contact a Naperville, IL Divorce Attorney

Showing a court that you live separately and apart from your spouse is not a simple task. It requires gathering evidence and convincing the judge that you both live separate lives. This is best done by a DuPage County, IL divorce lawyer who has experience with even the most complex divorces. At Pesce Law Group, P.C., our attorneys are skilled at handling both contested and uncontested divorces, and we excel at providing top-tier legal services. Call 630-352-2240 to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys today.

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