There are almost countless reasons why a married couple gets divorced. Sometimes, both spouses agree that it is time to end the marriage while other times only one spouse wants the divorce. Traditionally, married couples who wanted a divorce had to give a reason, or “grounds,” for why they wanted to end their marriage. However, major updates to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) took effect in 2016 which significantly altered the need for proving any grounds for divorce in Illinois.
Divorcing Couples No Longer Need to Assign Fault for the Dissolution of Their Marriage
In the past, Illinois had specific reasons that a married couple could dissolve their marriage. These reasons included the assignment of blame or “fault” to a spouse. Grounds for divorce in Illinois prior to 2016 included:
- Drug or alcohol abuse;
- Physical or mental cruelty;
- Attempted murder of a spouse by the other;
- Spouse was convicted of a felony crime; and
- Spouse infected the other with a sexually transmitted disease.
Since the mid-1980s, however, couples were not forced to choose one of these grounds for divorce in Illinois. A married couple could get divorced even if no major breech in trust or other dramatic wrongdoing occurred, but doing so was often difficult and time-consuming....