The Basics of No-Fault Divorce in Illinois

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In Illinois, according to the Illinois General Assembly, various grounds for divorce include: adultery; the absence of one spouse for at least one year, willfully; habitual drunkenness (or drug use) for at least two consecutive years; being convicted of a felony or other “infamous crime”; attempted murder; bigamy; and impotence.

Illinois, however, is also a no-fault divorce state. This means that a couple can still be legally divorced, even if neither spouse is necessarily found at fault.

For a divorce to qualify as no-fault (also called uncontested), one or both parties must prove an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and/or irreconcilable differences between the married parties. Also, attempts to further reconcile would prove unworkable and not in the best interests of those involved. Finally, two years of spousal separation are also required. However, this does not necessarily mean spouses need to reside in separate households. It just means they should be living similar to that of roommates.

According to the National Paralegal College, the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act (UMDA) was introduced in 1970 as a means to introduce no-fault divorce. By 1978, there were only seven states that had adopted the Act—Illinois was one of them. Since then, only Colorado has adopted the UMDA. This is not to say that no-fault divorce is not available in other states. It just indicates any divorces settled outside of the states that have not adopted UDMA may include rulings or settlements that do not apply across state lines.

According to Forbes, there are three divorce alternatives if neither a fault or no-fault divorce are desired. These include mediation, collaborative divorce, and litigated divorce. Some may consider a DIY divorce a fourth option; however, Forbes explicitly advises against it.

To determine which type of marital dissolution is best for your specific situation, the most important step is to speak with a family law attorney. If you are considering a no-fault divorce in Illinois, do not go through it alone. Contact a compassionate Aurora family law attorney today.

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