Reconciliation: When There is a Prospect of Reconciliation After You File for Divorce

Reconciliation: When There is a Prospect of Reconciliation After You File for  Divorce

By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC

You may know Illinois is a “no fault” divorce state, meaning a party who is filing for divorce, and the other party responding to that divorce petition, will never need to prove one of the spouses is at fault for the divorce as a result of adultery, addiction, or any other matter. Further, not only will spouses not need to allege or prove fault in a divorce, but there is no space in a divorce case where alleging fault can benefit one of the parties, although certainly your spouse’s “faults” may be relevant in child custody cases, or in improper use of funds.

Even decisions pertaining to spousal support (often known as alimony) are made based on the needs of the spouse seeking support as opposed to fault. Spousal maintenance is not punitive. Rather than alleging fault in any capacity, the party who files for divorce instead must assert irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

This seems simple enough, but how does the court know irreconcilable differences exist? And can the court ever tell a married couple it makes more sense for them to remain together? The “proof” required to prove irreconcilable differences pertains largely to evidence you have lived separate and apart from your spouse for the requisite amount of time. However, there is something in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) known as “conciliation,” and we want to say more about how this works.

What is Conciliation?

When you file for divorce in the Chicago area, one of the requirements to get divorced is that irreconcilable differences have caused the breakdown of the marriage and efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts would not be in the best interests of the family. Now, under Illinois law, there is an “irrebuttable presumption that the requirement of irreconcilable differences has been met” if the married couple has lived separate and apart for six (6) months or longer.

However, the IMDMA also has a section on “conciliation.” This part of the statute explains the following: If the court finds there is a possibility of reconciliation, the court may order a conciliation conference.

When Can a Conciliation Conference Occur?

A conciliation conference, as the statute clarifies, can occur at the request of either party (e.g., if one of the spouses opposes the divorce), or on the court’s own motion. However, if the court does order a conciliation conference, it cannot prevent the divorce if the parties have lived separate and apart for six (6) months or longer. To be clear, even if the other spouse opposes the divorce, that opposition alone will not prevent the court from granting a divorce.

It is also important to know that “upon good cause shown,” the court can also prohibit conciliation or any other process, which would require the parties to meet. For example, if there is a history of domestic violence and one of the parties requests a conciliation conference, the court can prohibit it.

Contact a Chicago area Divorce Lawyer

When you are preparing for a divorce in the Chicago area, it is essential to have a Chicago divorce attorney on your side. One of the family lawyers at our firm can speak with you about how Illinois no fault divorce works, and what kind of evidence you need to provide in order to be eligible for a divorce in the Chicago area. Contact Gordon & Perlutt, LLC for more information about the services we provide to clients throughout the Chicago area.