Irreconcilable Differences as a Basis for Divorce in Chicago

Irreconcilable Differences as a Basis for Divorce in Chicago

By M. Scott Gordon

The concept of irreconcilable differences is relatively new as a basis for dissolving a marriage, and is a product of the evolution of marriage over the last few decades. Although every state now allows for couples to divorce on a no-fault basis, a majority of states, including Illinois, have retained the traditional grounds of Divorce in Chicago alongside the newer no-fault legal option.

If there is no distinct cause that you can point to as the source of the breakdown of your marriage, such as an affair or abuse, but you and your spouse can no longer make your marriage work, a divorce based on irreconcilable differences might be best for you. This type of divorce is also commonly referred to as no-fault, since neither party seeks to place the blame on the other for the end of the marriage.

Because Illinois has an interest in discouraging divorce, state laws place a mandatory waiting period on couples wishing to part ways due to irreconcilable differences. The default length for the waiting period is two years, during which you and your spouse must live “apart”. Because of an influential case from the 1980s, the threshold for “living separate and apart” is rather low; divorcing couples can continue to share the same roof, as long as they can show that they established separate lives. Living in separate areas of a house, and sleeping in separate bedrooms, could be considered living apart. The separation period can be lowered to 6 months, by agreement.

At the end of the waiting period, you must convince the judge that your differences were the cause of the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage, that your efforts to reconcile have not been successful, and that any future efforts to reconcile would be impracticable or would impair the best interests of your family. Of course, if you and your spouse have already been separated for a couple of years at the time when you file for divorce, this time will be taken into account by a family law judge.

As stated, if both spouses agree and sign a waiver form, the two-year waiting period can be shortened to six months. In order to take advantage of this shortened waiting period, so that you can more quickly move on with your lives, you and your spouse must be willing to cooperate and sign the required agreement.

A dedicated Chicago Family Lawyer who is well-versed in divorce cases can assess your circumstances and let you know how you can address sometimes complicated issues regarding the waiting period and living in the same home.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Lawyer
For counsel and representation in your Divorce, contact the law office of Gordon & Perlut, LLC in Chicago and Skokie/Northshore. We will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your case.