Can I Get Divorced in Illinois If I Got Married Abroad?

Can I Get Divorced in Illinois If I Got Married Abroad?

By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC

If you got married outside Illinois but currently live in the Chicago area — or will soon be moving to Cook County and are thinking about filing for divorce, you may wonder if you can. What if you got married outside the United States?

In short, the answer to these questions is often “yes” as long as you meet the residency requirements for getting divorced in Illinois. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) governs matters pertaining to divorce requirements in the state. We will provide you with more information about getting divorced in Illinois if you got married abroad.

You Will Need Proof of a Foreign Marriage

You will need to have proof you got married outside of Illinois in order to be eligible to get divorced in Illinois, and there are multiple ways to provide that proof. The IMDMA specifically states:

“A marriage which may have been solemnized or had in any foreign state or country, may be proved by the acknowledgement of the parties, their cohabitation, and other evidence.”

In addition, the IMDMA clarifies that “certified copies of records of a marriage performed in any foreign state or country obtained from an authorized state governmental unit, embassy, or consulate may be admitted as an exception to the hearsay rule.”

Residency Requirements to Get Divorced in the Chicago area

In addition to providing proof of a foreign marriage, you will need to meet certain residency requirements in order to be eligible for a divorce in the Chicago area. If you have recently moved to Chicago or the surrounding area, or even to Illinois, you or your spouse must reside in the state for at least 90 days before you can file for divorce. The IMDMA says, for an Illinois court to enter a judgment of dissolution of marriage, the following must be true:

“When at the time the action was commenced [the petition for dissolution of marriage] one of the spouses was a resident of this State or was stationed in this State while a member of the armed services, and the residence or military presence had been maintained for 90 days next preceding the commencement of the action.”

Beyond the 90-day residency requirement, there is the issue of “venue”. There is a specific residency requirement if you want to file in any Illinois county, namely, that at least one of the parties must be a current County resident. If there are minor children from the marriage, there may be additional residency requirements to file in Illinois.

Contact a Chicago Divorce Attorney

Do you have questions or concerns about filing for divorce in Chicago or the Chicago area after getting married abroad? A dedicated Chicago divorce lawyer at our firm can help with your case. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC to learn more.