What You Need to Know About a Military Divorce in Illinois 

When you serve in the United States military and want to divorce, you face a different set of laws than those for civilians filing for divorce. Unlike a civilian divorce which is governed by the laws of the state, military divorce is governed by both federal and state laws, and special rules and requirements apply. 

Residency requirements for members of the military

When civilians file for divorce, they generally file in the state in which they reside. But what about military personnel, who move frequently? 

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, to file for a military divorce in Illinois, one of the spouses must be a resident of Illinois or stationed in Illinois while they are a member of the armed services, and they must have been a resident or stationed in Illinois for 90 consecutive days prior to the commencement of divorce proceedings or 90 days prior to the finalization of the divorce.

Military divorce process in Illinois

Filing for a divorce in Illinois as a member of the armed services is similar to the divorce process for non-military members. Illinois does allow certain considerations for service members, recognizing that military service members may be on active duty. 

Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), service members on active duty are afforded some protections against court proceedings, including:

  • Protection from a default judgment
  • Ability to apply for a temporary halt, known as a “stay,” of any civil action that is initiated against them while they are on active duty or within 90 days from their release from active duty, including for divorce and child custody proceedings
  • The ability to apply for an extension of the 90-day stay

The SCRA applies to active duty members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Reserve; members of the National Guard who are mobilized for more than 30 consecutive days; and active duty commissioned officers of the Public Health Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

If you are a military service member considering a divorce, understanding these laws, your rights, and the military divorce process is essential. To make sure you receive all your legal protections, speak with an experienced military divorce lawyer. Additionally, if you have more questions about divorce, you can take a look at our Divorce & Family Law FAQ.