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What are the grounds for initiating a divorce in Illinois?

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2024 | Divorce |

Divorce is an option for those in unhealthy or dysfunctional marriages across the United States. However, the rules that apply during a divorce are different in every state, which can lead to a lot of confusion as people begin looking into divorcing a spouse.

The basis for divorce and the rules that govern divorce proceedings are slightly different in Illinois than they are in Wisconsin, Indiana or Michigan. People may therefore have a hard time knowing what to expect when they begin considering divorce. For example, someone hoping to divorce their spouse may feel uncertain about whether they have grounds to initiate divorce proceedings.

Illinois only allows no-fault divorces

Traditionally, the spouse filing for divorce often had to provide a reason or grounds for seeking to dissolve the marital union. Fault-based grounds for divorce required that one spouse proved infidelity, abuse or other circumstances that made the marital relationship unsustainable. The other spouse had an opportunity to defend against those allegations, and the divorce proceedings could very easily become messy. Someone who filed for divorce could end up forced to remain in a marriage because they did not have adequate evidence of the issues plaguing their marriage.

Illinois has done away with fault-based grounds for divorce. Spouses can only pursue no-fault divorces. The only justification needed for divorce is a claim of irreconcilable differences. One spouse simply needs to assert in court that the relationship is unsalvageable to qualify for a no-fault divorce. The courts can then divide marital property and parental rights in accordance with State statutes. The misconduct of either party has minimal bearing on the outcome of no-fault divorces in most cases. However, the upside is that one spouse cannot unilaterally prevent a divorce sought by the other.

While misconduct typically has little or no bearing on Illinois divorce proceedings, certain types of financial misconduct could affect property division. Spouses preparing for divorce may need to gather and review financial records carefully to obtain the best outcome possible. Understanding the requirements for a divorce in Illinois may help people who are ready to move on from an unsatisfying marriage.


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