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Kane County divorce lawyersEveryone “knows” that about half of all marriages end in divorce. While this statistic is not strictly true—the real number is estimated to be between 30 and 40 percent—the reality is that thousands of divorces are granted every year in the United States, including many here in Illinois.

In terms of the law, a divorce is a civil legal action between two parties that seeks to dissolve the marital contract between them. When filing any type of legal action, the person who files the action must have a reason or “grounds” for doing so. In Illinois, there used to be many possible grounds on which a divorce could be sought, but there is only one that is still available.

Irreconcilable Differences

Posted on in Divorce

Geneva divorce lawyersHas 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.

Posted on in Divorce

Kane County divorce attorneysA non-filing spouse may choose to “fight” a divorce for a variety of reasons. Many people do not want to accept blame for the couple’s problems. In other situations, there may be fear that fault for the breakup could be considered in a property or parenting agreement and the spouse does not want to be at risk for an unfavorable decision. Some people may want to stay married and believe that, given time, the couple could work things out, while other people simply do not like to lose. Whatever your reasons, it is important to know your options under the law.

Uncontested Divorce

To obtain a divorce in Illinois, the filing spouse must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that “irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” and that “efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.”

Posted on in Divorce

no-fault divorce, Geneva divorce lawyerFor many generations, a couple who sought to end their marriage in the state of Illinois could only do so based on the behavior of one spouse. In order to obtain a judgment of divorce, a petitioning spouse had to show that the other spouse was at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Over time, however, the laws of the state were amended to reflect evolving societal values, eventually adding no-fault divorce as an option for those in unhappy and unhealthy marriages.

Fault Grounds and the Introduction of No-Fault Divorce

For much of America’s history, spouses who were unhappy in a bad marriage were essentially stuck. Of course, it was possible to get a divorce if the other partner cheated, was mentally or emotionally abusive, abandoned the family, or chronically abused drugs or alcohol, along with several other serious at-fault grounds. This meant, however, that without such behaviors, there was virtually nothing a person could do to end the marriage. Even the process of divorce was much more complicated, as the alleged fault had to be proven.

Posted on in Family Law

fault divorce, no-fault divorce, Illinois family lawyerWhen a married couple is no longer able to continue building a future together, divorce is sometimes the best option. The reality is that many couples do not really belong together and trying to force a relationship between the spouses is neither productive nor particularly healthy.

Several decades ago, a couple needed specified grounds, or reason, to pursue a divorce. Typically, grounds included destructive or injurious behavior on the part of one spouse, including bigamy, adultery, habitual substance abuse, and mental or physical cruelty. A divorce could also be granted on the grounds that a spouse was convicted of a felony or “other infamous crime.”

In 1984, however, the Illinois legislature finally acknowledged that, in many cases, the cumulative effect of smaller issues can drive a couple apart, with neither spouse at fault, just as much as more serious negative behaviors. No-fault divorce, or divorce citing the grounds of irreconcilable differences, was added to the law, allowing unhealthy marriages to end more easily and with less evidence.

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