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Separation Requirement Reduced for No-Fault Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

kane county divorce attorney, separation period, Illinois lawBeginning in 2016, the family law landscape in Illinois is set to change rather dramatically, as a sweeping new law goes into effect on the first of the year. The new legislation, signed by Governor Bruce Rauner last month, amends a number of provisions in the law pertaining to divorce, child custody, parental relocation, and other family-related concerns. Over the next few months, as details of the new law become clearer, future posts on this blog will address some of the various expected impacts.

"Separate and Apart"

Among the most significant changes offered by the new measure is the drastic reduction of the required separation period for a no-fault divorce. Under the current provisions in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences—colloquially known as no-fault divorce—may not be granted unless the parties "have lived separate and apart for continuous period in excess of 2 years." By mutual agreement, the separation may be reduced but may not be less than six months.

Whatever the intention of the original law may have been, in recent years, the separation provision only served to delay the proceedings unnecessarily in many cases. A couple who is absolutely certain that divorce is the right choice, and with all other necessary considerations accounted for, is required to watch the calendar for six months before the divorce will be granted.  Likewise, a person looking to move on with his or her life, whose spouse refuses to agree to the divorce is stuck waiting as long as two years, meanwhile being placed at financial or other risk by the actions or inaction of the spouse.

Shift the Focus to More Important Concerns

As of January 1, 2016, a continuous separation of six months or more will be an "irrebuttable" indication "that the requirement of irreconcilable differences has been met." As such, upon agreement of the parties, the separation period may not even be mandatory. Thus, both spouses will be able to more quickly turn their attention to effectively negotiating necessary divorce concerns and moving forward with their post-divorce lives. The law is expected to help expedite the divorce process for couples who are in relative agreement and are seeking a more efficient resolution.

If you are considering a divorce in Illinois, the new law promises to have at least some impact on your situation. Contact an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney at A. Traub & Associates for assistance. Our knowledgeable, compassionate team will review your case, help you understand your options, and work with you in pursuing the most appropriate course of action. Call today to schedule a confidential consultation.

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