What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Illinois?
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.
Current Grounds for Divorce in Illinois
Since January 1, 2016, Illinois has been a “pure no-fault” state. This means that spouses no longer need to assign fault for why the marriage is ending. There is now only one ground for divorce in Illinois: irreconcilable differences. More specifically, Illinois marriages end when “irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and the court determines that efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.” If you wish to get divorced in Illinois, you will not need to prove that your spouse cheated on you, was abusive, or otherwise did something to necessitate the divorce. Sometimes, a married couple simply cannot make their marriage work. Illinois law has now been modernized to reflect this.
If you are seeking a divorce because your spouse did commit a serious transgression, this could still affect issues of child custody, child support, property division, spousal maintenance, and more. For example, if you are seeking a divorce because your spouse has a serious drug addiction, it is likely that his or her addiction will affect the amount of parental responsibility and parenting time he or she is assigned.
Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer
To speak with an experienced St. Charles family law attorney about your divorce, contact Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC. Schedule a confidential consultation by calling 630-665-7300 today.