Last month I told you that you really need to live together to get your divorce done as quickly and painlessly as possible…. But how does that work with language about living separate and apart?
First, there is no longer a requirement that you live separate and apart for any specific period of time in order to get a divorce. When the Illinois legislature simplified the issue of grounds for divorce, only irreconcilable differences was retained in the statute. If a couple agrees to be divorced, they can get a divorce without living separate and apart at all. However, if one spouse does not agree to a swift divorce and disputes “irreconcilable differences”, then the spouse who wants the divorce would be required to demonstrate to the court that they have lived separate and apart for a period in excess of 6 months. With that requirement met, the court will presume that the couple has irreconcilable differences.
While it is rare for one spouse to deny irreconcilable differences, this question comes up quite a bit due to the materials that remain on the internet based upon the old law. This reiterates my constant refrain that the internet is a great place to find questions to ask your attorney, but an unreliable place for answers.
“Separate and apart” under the old law and currently under the revised statute is simply not living together as a husband and wife. That can mean not sharing a bed, not eating together, not attending events as a couple, not living life as a couple. One judge looked at when the couple had last attended a family reunion together. Last week, a judge noted that it was how the “whole package” looked as he noted that separate and apart does not require two homes.
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