No-Fault Divorce in Illinois

no-fault divorce, grounds for divorce, Illinois Divorce AttorneyTo many in modern Western culture, the option of divorce is one that is fairly-well taken for granted. While some may be opposed to the idea of widespread divorce for moral or religious reasons, they recognize it as a legal recourse to dissolve a civil agreement. In previous generations, however, divorce could often be much more complicated that it is today, as it required providing evidence of wrongdoing or fault on the part of one spouse. Throughout America, that is no longer the case, as each state has enacted its own provisions for completing a no-fault divorce.

No-Fault and Irreconcilable Differences

It is still very possible under Illinois law to pursue a divorce on fault grounds. These often represent serious allegations of actions committed by a spouse, including but not limited:

  • Infidelity or adulterous behavior;
  • Bigamy;
  • Abandonment or desertion of the marriage and family;
  • Mental or physical cruelty and abuse; and
  • Ongoing substance abuse.

Many marital relationships, however, simply deteriorate over time as the spouses prove to be incompatible. There may be no evidence of the any of the actions necessary to justify a divorce on grounds of fault, but continuing the marriage is not a reasonable option either. Such a situation may be resolved by means of a no-fault divorce, or as referred to by Illinois law, a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.

The No-Fault Divorce Process

When a spouse files a petition for no-fault divorce, Illinois law provides that the divorce may be granted if:

  • There has been an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage;”
  • Attempts at reconciliation have failed or are found to be in opposition to the family’s best interests; and
  • The spouses have lived “separate and apart” for at least 2 years.

Living separate and apart, for most couples, involves establishing separate residences. However, there have been examples in Illinois in which a couple continued to live in the same home but convinced the court their living arrangements met the standard of “separate and apart. Additionally, if neither party intends to contest the divorce, the separation period may be reduced to six months by agreement of the spouses. This allows the proceedings to move forward without unnecessary delay.

As with any divorce, all appropriate considerations must still be made regarding property division, spousal support, and child-related matters. The no-fault provision applies only the reason for the divorce and has no bearing on any other divorce-related concern.

If you are considering filing for divorce and would like more information about how to proceed, contact an experienced Naperville family law attorney today. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we understand the challenges that you may be facing and are fully prepared to help you.

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