Divorce Law in Illinois: Beyond Irreconcilable Differences

irreconcilable differences, DuPage County divorce attorneyNearly every American adult has heard the phrase “irreconcilable differences.” It is used as not only the basis for most divorces—all of them now, under Illinois law—but also as the basis for personnel moves in corporate settings and business decisions. While one might define irreconcilable differences as “agreeing to disagree” writ large, the use of the concept in divorce law is a bit more complex than most people realize.

Due, in large part, to unfamiliarity with the law, many people presume that when the time comes for a couple to cite a reason for their divorce, they simply write “irreconcilable differences” on the appropriate form or document. The reality, however, goes beyond the fact that the couple is struggling to get along, as—despite the commonplace nature of divorce—the state of Illinois still recognizes the importance of the marriage contract.

The Law

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that a divorce may be granted to a couple if, at least of the spouse meets the residency requirements and “irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” The law goes on to say that the court must also be convinced “efforts at reconciliation have failed and that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.”

So, what does this mean? The law essentially provides that divorce is an option, but is not to be the first choice for a couple struggling to get along. The marriage must be “irretrievably” broken down, meaning that it is beyond saving. The law explicitly states that the couple must have either already attempted to fix their situation or realized that doing would be impossible or not in the family’s best interests. Reconciling with a spouse who has a history of habitual domestic violence, for example, may be possible, but not in the best interests of the family.

Just Part of the Equation

As you can see, the idea of irreconcilable differences does not tell the whole story in a divorce proceeding. Simply not getting along with your spouse is not enough; your marriage must be damaged to the point that divorce is your only reasonable option.

To learn more about the process of divorce in Illinois and its applicable laws, contact an experienced family law attorney in DuPage County. Call [[phone]] for a consultation at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams today.




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