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Is Illinois a no-fault divorce state?

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2021 | Divorce |

Popular entertainment would have everyone believe that divorce is the end result of numerous devastating events. From infidelity and drug use to criminal activity and domestic violence, books, movies and television programs generally center on these dramatic elements to end a marriage. It is not uncommon, however, for reality to follow a simpler path. In Illinois, for example, couples can often grow apart and seek a no-fault divorce.

A decade ago, however, Illinois law stated that couples would need to cite a reason for the divorce. Otherwise known as “grounds” for divorce. In addition to the above-listed reasons, other grounds could be impotence, bigamy, abandonment, or alcohol or drug abuse. Several years ago, the courts abandoned the traditional model and adopted the notion of a no-fault divorce. The grounds for a no-fault divorce are straightforward, including:

  • The couple faces “irreconcilable differences” that have led to the breakdown of the marriage.
  • The couple has attempted to reconcile their differences but has failed.
  • Further attempts at reconciliation would likely run contrary to the best interests of the family.

Are fault grounds still considered?

While an Illinois judge will not examine fault in the overall divorce process, it might come into play when considering child custody and visitation matters. Additionally, if the fault is related to asset use – a spouse using marital funds to bankroll their gambling addiction, for example – the fault might impact the property division process.

It is not uncommon for a couple to simply grow apart. As individuals age, their outlook changes. They might strive toward new career goals, have a different approach to child-rearing or want to move out of the country. These can all lead to heated disputes between married individuals who do not share the same goals. In these cases, Illinois couples can seek a no-fault divorce citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for the end of the marriage.