Illinois Divorce Basics
Has your marriage reached the point where it is no longer a healthy part of your life? A marriage can deteriorate for many reasons, but according to Illinois law, there is only one legal basis for divorce. Thanks to changes to the state’s family law statutes last year, a divorce can only be granted on the grounds that irreconcilable differences have pushed the marriage beyond the point of repair.
What Are Irreconcilable Differences?
When Illinois permitted fault-based divorce, such grounds were fairly straightforward. They included behaviors like adultery, repeated mental or physical cruelty, abandonment, and other actions that were easy to understand, even if they were difficult to prove during divorce. Irreconcilable differences, on the other hand, are rather vague. In fact, there is no single definition of irreconcilable differences contained in the law. Instead, the phrase is understood to mean that the spouses are no longer able to remain in a marital relationship with one another.
It is important to realize that the actions that were once grounds for a fault-based divorce could be contributing factors to a couple’s irreconcilable differences. If your spouse cheated on you, for example, that could be enough for you to recognize that the marriage is broken and cannot be fixed. On your divorce paperwork, however, you will need to cite irreconcilable differences instead of adultery.
Contesting Irreconcilable Differences
Illinois courts are not particularly interested in forcing couples to stay married against their will. For this reason, spouses who both believe that the marriage is beyond saving are permitted to proceed with their divorce without any required period of living separate and apart.
In some cases, though, one spouse may believe that the relationship can be fixed so he or she does not agree to the divorce. When this happens, the divorce cannot proceed unless the spouses have lived separate and apart for a period of six months or more. The court will accept the separation as proof that the marriage has broken down due to irreconcilable differences, regardless of the claims of the contesting spouse.
Get the Help You Need
While it is not usually difficult to convince the court that your divorce should proceed, the process of resolving all the related issues can be extremely complicated. Concerns such as the division of marital property, alimony, and parental responsibilities must be addressed before your divorce is finalized. To learn more about divorce laws in Illinois, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. Call 630-232-9700 for a confidential consultation at The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates today.