Illinois Divorce Articles

Aug 8, 2012 by

A permanent legal divorce is known as a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage in the state of Illinois. A judgment in Illinois has the same legal force and effect as what is known as a Divorce Decree in most other states. Since 1984, Illinois law has allowed two types of grounds for divorce, as both “fault” and “no fault” grounds may be cited when asking the court to grant a Judgment for Dissolution. Prior to Illinois legislators signing the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act into law in 1984, divorcing couples had to prove specific fault in the marriage before a divorce was granted. The adoption of no fault divorce grounds in Illinois has greatly simplified the overall divorce process by allowing irreconcilable differences as the only fault that need be cited.

Irreconcilable differences in an Illinois no fault divorce do not need to cite any specific problems in the marriage, only that the differences have resulted in an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and that reconciliation is not in the best interests of either spouse or dependant children. Allowing no fault as grounds for divorce definitely makes the overall process simpler and less costly, but there are still mandatory waiting periods that must be met. Illinois law can require divorcing spouses to live separate and apart for at least six months, and up to two years, before the final Judgment for Dissolution is granted. If both parties agree to the terms of the divorce they can be granted a Judgment after six months of separation. In cases where there is no agreement between parties, the court can require up to two years of physical separation before a Judgment is finalized.

For couples facing more complicated and contested divorces, there are seven different types of faults or wrongs allowed as at fault grounds in Illinois. When the broader grounds of irreconcilable differences are not applied, more specific faults must be proven in court. Illinois allows the following as sufficient grounds in an at fault divorce:

  • Adultery is not only sufficient grounds for divorce in Illinois, it is also illegal in the state.
  • Alienation of affection is grounds for divorce in Illinois and also allows third parties to be sued for helping to break up a marriage.
  • Physical cruelty is sufficient grounds for divorce when it is shown to be extreme and repeated.
  • Mental cruelty is a grounds for divorce in Illinois when it is ongoing, repeated and affects the health of a spouse.
  • A felony conviction by either spouse is sufficient grounds for divorce in Illinois.
  • Transmission of a sexually transmitted disease to a spouse is sufficient grounds for divorce in Illinois.
  • Habitual drunkenness or drug addiction lasting longer than two years is sufficient grounds for divorce in Illinois.

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