The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act has undergone major changes in recent years. Couples who divorced before 2016 faced very different requirements than couples do today.
Is Illinois an at-fault or no-fault divorce state?
Illinois is now a no-fault divorce state. Individuals no longer have to prove that their spouse is “at fault” for specific reasons such as infidelity or habitual drunkenness.
For many couples, this simplifies the divorce filing process. It also protects both parties from having to publicly reveal private details about their relationship. According to 750 ILCS 5/401, the court will only want to see that:
- “Irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.”
- And, reconciliation now or in the future would not be in the couple’s best interest.
Spouses who live “separate and apart” for at least six months are presumed to have an irretrievably broken marriage.
Who can file for divorce in Illinois?
It is relatively easy to file for divorce in Illinois. At least one of the spouses has to be a resident for at least 90 days. Military personnel who are stationed in the state for at least 90 days also meet the residency requirement.
The Illinois resident can be either the petitioner (the person who files for divorce) or the respondent.
5 signs that divorce might be the right choice
Oftentimes, the laws surrounding divorce are black and white, but the emotions are not. Divorce is a deeply private and personal decision. Many people wonder if divorce is the right choice, or if they are simply giving up. There are five signs that divorce might be a couple’s best option:
- One or both partners engage in abusive behavior. Abuse is not just physical, but also emotional, psychological, financial and verbal.
- One spouse is abusive towards the children in the home.
- Couples counseling hasn’t been effective, or one party refuses to go to counseling.
- One spouse struggles with some form of addiction and refuses treatment. Or, attempts at treatment have failed.
- Some partners cannot get over adultery, particularly if it has happened more than once.
Many people are ready and willing to start the divorce process but worry about practical matters like money, debt and custody. In these cases, a consultation with a family law attorney is beneficial. Individuals can learn about their rights and prepare to move onto the next chapter of their lives.