Do I have to go through another 6 months of separation in order to obtain a divorce, if I was previously separated 3 years ago?

UPDATED: Aug 25, 2011

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Do I have to go through another 6 months of separation in order to obtain a divorce, if I was previously separated 3 years ago?

I’ve been married for 6 years and things are not working out, my husband is an alcoholic. I filed for divorce about 36 months ago ago and the court said I had to be separated from my spouse 6 months before getting another court date. Things ended up working out. Things have taken a turn for the worse. If I refile for divorce again, do I have to wait another 6 months of separation since it was done in the past?

Asked on August 25, 2011 Illinois


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I really do not know what happened and it is best to actually look at al the documentation to give guidance here.  But here are the grounds for divorce in Illinois:

  • natural impotence at the time of the marriage and continuing thereafter
  • bigamy (also a ground for annulment)
  • adultery
  • wilfully desertion or absence from the petitioner for the space of one year
  • habitual drunkenness for the space of 2 years
  • gross and confirmed habits caused by the excessive use of addictive drugs for the space of 2 years
  • threatening the life of the other by poison or other means showing malice
  • extreme and repeated physical or mental cruelty
  • conviction of a felony or other infamous crime
  • infecting the other spouse with a communicable venereal disease.
  • irreconcilable differences (this is a no-fault "ground")

The "no fault" ground requires that:

  • the spouses have lived separate and apart for a continuous period in excess of 2 years [Illinois Courts have found that "separate and apart" does not necessarily mean separate housing; if the parties reside in the same household, they must live as if they were "separate and apart."]
  • irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
  • efforts at reconciliation have failed and further attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.

If the spouses have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of not less than 6 months prior to entry of the divorce judgment, the 2-year living apart requirement may be waived if both parties stipulate in writing. After separation, any period during which the parties live together while attempting to reconcile and participating in marriage counseling, or under a written reconciliation agreement, will count towards the required separation period if the reconciliation fails. 

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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