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Illinois Eliminates At-Fault Divorce

 Posted on October 06, 2015 in Divorce

divorce, at-fault divorce, Illinois family law attorneyAs of now, a married individual in Illinois can seek a divorce on the grounds of his or her spouse’s behavior. Of course, divorces on such grounds have grown relatively uncommon since the introduction of so-called "no-fault" divorce in 1984. Beginning in 2016, however, fault divorces, or those based upon the specific actions of one party will no longer be available in the state, forcing all marital dissolutions to proceed on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.

Current Law

Under the existing provisions of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, there are ten separate reasons upon which a fault divorce may be granted. By petitioning for divorce one of these grounds, the petitioner must show that his or her spouse:

  • Was naturally impotent at the time of the marriage and continues to be so;
  • Was still married to another at the time of the marriage;
  • Committed adultery;
  • Abandoned the petitioner for at least one year;
  • Abused alcohol for the period of two years;
  • Excessively uses addictive drugs;
  • Attempted to kill the petitioner;
  • Exhibited repeated mental or physical cruelty;
  • Has been convicted of a felony or "other infamous crime;" or
  • Infected the petitioner with a sexually transmitted disease.

New Law and Reduced Burden of Proof

One of the primary challenges in an at-fault divorce case is the requirement that the petitioner prove the behavior of his or her spouse. While certain situations may be easier to confirm, such as abandonment or impotence, it is often much more difficult to prove adultery or mental cruelty.

As part of the family law reform bill passed in Illinois this summer, there will be no need to prove a spouse’s behavior. All divorces will proceed as no-fault cases, or on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, which can be agreed upon by both parties, or proven by a separation period of at least six months. Thus, while the divorce process may still be complicated due the accompanying concerns, including property division and child-related issues, the reason for the divorce itself will be much easier to resolve.

Compassionate Legal Counsel in Illinois

If you are considering a divorce, it important to speak with an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney to develop a workable approach to the process. You will have the opportunity to meet with one of our knowledgeable legal professionals who can answer your questions and address any concerns you may have. Contact A. Traub & Associates to schedule your confidential introductory consultation today.


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