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Grounds for Divorce in Illinois

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Going through a divorce is usually emotionally difficult for all parties involved. There are many different reasons why people choose to file for divorce, but it is generally never an easy decision to make. Some couples may mutually recognize that their relationship is crumbling, that communication is strained, and that each would be better on their own. In other cases, one spouse may file for divorce without any knowledge or anticipation by the other spouse. Regardless of why a divorce is filed, there is almost always a good reason why that decision was made.

When determining whether or how to proceed with dissolution of your marriage, it is helpful to enlist the help of a trained legal professional who can help you decide what the best process is for you and your family. A family law attorney can also help explain the best grounds to proceed on in a divorce. Grounds for divorce are the legal bases courts use to allow a divorce to proceed, and there are several different approaches and grounds possible.

Reasons to Divorce in Illinois

Even if you were not married in Illinois, you can still file for divorce in this state. A couple can divorce in Illinois as long as one spouse has lived in the state for at least 90 days. The spouse that files for divorce can choose to assert a reason for the divorce (grounds, or fault-based divorce) or can choose to file for a no-fault divorce.

Illinois law specifies the proof that is required for both fault-based and no-fault divorces. A no-fault divorce can be initiated due to irreconcilable differences, which means the parties usually do not have to explain their personal issues and problems to the court. This means no-fault divorce proceedings can be much more private than divorce proceedings based on fault. The spouse that files for a no-fault divorce must still show the court, however, that irreconcilable differences have caused the marriage to breakdown, and that:

  • The spouses have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of at least two years (though this does not necessarily mean physically separate, and the parties can stipulate to a shorter period of six months as well);
  • All efforts to reconcile have failed; and
  • Any future efforts to reconcile would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.

Grounds for fault-based divorce in Illinois include the following:

  • Impotence: The physical inability to have sexual relations. The husband must have been naturally impotent at the time of the marriage, and must continue to be impotent during the marriage.
  • Adultery: Also known as cheating or infidelity; one spouse has sexual relations with someone outside of the marriage.
  • Abandonment or Desertion: Willfully deserting or abandoning a spouse for at least one year (without a justifiable reason).
  • Drug or Alcohol Use: Habitual drunkenness or drug addiction that has been ongoing for at least two years.
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD): The respondent transmitted an STD disease to the other.
  • Physical or mental cruelty: Extreme, repeated, physical or mental cruelty, without cause or provocation. This can be proven through evidence such as medical records, police reports, and witness testimony.

Wheaton Divorce Attorneys Can Help

If you are thinking about divorce, or have been served with divorce papers, you should seek expert legal representation to assist you in understanding the various approaches to and reasons for divorce. The law firm of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella LLC, in Wheaton, Illinois, has years of experience helping clients through the divorce process. You do not have to go through divorce proceedings alone; contact our DuPage County divorce lawyers today for a free consultation to discuss the bases for divorce, what strategies might be best for you, and what you can expect in the divorce process.

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