If your marriage is not working and you are ready for a divorce, you may wonder if you must prove fault to end it. In Illinois, you can get a no-fault divorce, which may make it easier and faster to end the marriage. Learn about no-fault divorces below, and you can ask our Chicago divorce lawyers for additional information about your case.
Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, which means you do not have to prove a reason that the marriage is ending. The law changed in January 2016 with Public Act 99-90, which eliminated all fault grounds for getting a divorce. The change to a no-fault divorce is part of a trend in much of the US to reduce conflict and disagreement during the divorce process. Rather than focusing on wrongdoing and blame, the focus is on resolving major marital issues involving dividing property, child custody, child support, and alimony.
If you want a no-fault divorce in Illinois, you must meet specific criteria for it to be granted. First, you and the other party must live separate and apart for more than six months. Next, the court must find that irreconcilable differences caused the marriage to break down. Also, efforts to save the marriage must have failed, and additional attempts must be considered unlikely to bear fruit.
If you and your spouse decide to try to make things work during the separation, this does not restart the clock on the separation period. The state wants you to try to reconcile and does not discourage you from trying to save the marriage.
Obtaining a no-fault divorce based on irreconcilable differences means living separate and apart for several months. What does this mean? In the past, courts have interpreted this phrase to mean not living as a husband and wife, but not necessarily in different households. The courts recognize that having two separate households could be financially and logistically challenging.
So, you may continue to live under the same roof, but you cannot live as husband and wife. This means not sleeping in the same bed, having intimate relations, eating meals together, and presenting yourself to the public as husband and wife. If you and your spouse live in the same household in this manner, the courts in Illinois will view you as living separate and apart.
If you want to get a divorce in Illinois, you do not have to prove that the other party did something wrong that caused the marriage to break down. Instead, you can ask for a no-fault divorce, but getting it granted requires you to take the steps mentioned in this article.
Our Chicago divorce lawyers at Gordon & Perlut, LLC can help you with a no-fault divorce and represent your interests in contentious areas, such as property division, spousal support, and child custody. Speak to one of our attorneys today about your case at (312) 360-0250 for legal assistance with your divorce. Our attorneys also can assist if you want to try mediation to resolve major divorce disputes efficiently and with less cost.