Relationships can break down for any number of reasons. Some couples simply grow apart over time, with each spouse becoming less and less interested in the other. In other situations, the situation may be more dramatic. Cheating, mental or physical abuse, abandonment, and substance abuse can all lead to an explosive end to the relationship. For many years, such behavior could be cited as the official reason for a divorce in Illinois, effectively assigning fault to one spouse. Recent changes to the law, however, have changed the way that divorce is handled throughout the state.
No More Fault Grounds
In January of 2016, a series of sweeping changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act were enacted. No longer will divorce applicants need to cite a reason why their marriage is dissolving. Prior to the law changes, there were about a dozen fault-based reasons that could be used as the basis for the divorce, including:
- Adultery or marital infidelity;
- Impotence, including any undisclosed physical or psychological problem which prevents a spouse from engaging in intercourse;
- Physical or mental cruelty as a pattern of behavior over a period of time;
- Conviction of a felony or other infamous crime;
- Infecting the other spouse with a sexually transmitted disease;
- Abandonment; and
- Habitual alcohol or drug abuse
Applicants could also choose the “no-fault” grounds of “irreconcilable differences.” In the wake of the changes to the law, this final choice is now the only available grounds, making all divorces in Illinois no-fault.
According to the law, a divorce will be granted when “irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage; past efforts at reconciliation have failed, and future efforts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.”
Moving Forward More Quickly
Another change is that there is no more required separation period before a divorce can be granted. Previously, spouses that wanted to dissolve their marriage used to have to live separate and apart for two years prior to a no-fault divorce. The separation could be reduced to six months by agreement of the parties, but could not be waived completely.
Today, if both spouses agree that the marriage is beyond repair, there is no separation requirement whatsoever. The process can continue immediately. If both spouses do not agree to the divorce, however, a six-month separation will be accepted by the court as proof of irreconcilable differences.
Call Us for Help Today
If you are considering a divorce, you need an experienced Kane County divorce attorney at your side every step of the way. Call 847-426-1866 for a confidential consultation at Pucci | Pirtle today.