Aurora No-Fault Divorce Attorney Assisting You in Understanding Illinois' No-Fault Laws
What Exactly Is No-Fault?
In years past, Illinois required a person filing for divorce to allege and prove one of 11 grounds for divorce. Each of the 11 grounds places the fault on the other spouse.
While individuals still need a "ground" for divorce, Illinois has enacted a modified "no-fault" law as its 12th basis for divorce. With the addition of the no-fault ground, a spouse does not blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage. Instead, he or she need only tell the court that:
- Irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and that you believe that past efforts at reconciliation have failed, OR
- Future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family
What Are Some Requirements for Filing for a No-Fault Divorce?
Illinois' no-fault law is described as "modified" because, unlike most other states, judgment can be used only after the parties:
- Have been separated for a period in excess of two years, unless both parties agree to waive this requirement down to six months
- Both parties agree to use this ground
If the parties can't meet both of these conditions, they must instead be separated for two years in order to obtain a no-fault judgment.*
If Separation Is a Requirement for No-Fault Divorce, How Is It Defined?
The key focus of "separation" as it applies to no-fault divorce is a breakdown of the marital relationship. It does not require separate physical residency. Spouses can still be living under the same roof and doing many of the marital activities together that any married couple would, but if some essential aspect of the marriage is breaking down, it can constitute "separation."
Rather surprisingly, the separation period is dated backward from the date of trial or entry of judgment, not from when you file. Parties can therefore file cases by using another ground for divorce and then later convert their case to one of no-fault once enough time has passed and their separation meets the legal requirement.**
For more information regarding no-fault divorce in Illinois from an experienced Naperville divorce lawyer, please call 630-409-1261.
*The statute requires a period of separation in excess of two years, unless the parties' agree to use no-fault as their ground for divorce AND stipulate that they have been living separate and apart for a period in excess of six months AND waive the remainder of the separation period. If both parties don't agree to use this ground, then they must be separated for two years before a divorce can be granted on the grounds of no-fault.
** Most parties allege both no-fault and one of the original 11 grounds for divorce in the initial petition but proceed under no-fault for the entry of judgment, dropping the other ground.