Dissolution of Marriage: Irreconcilable Differences
At the beginning of the year, changes went into effect in Illinois related to the process for obtaining a divorce. The fault grounds for a divorce have been eliminated. Instead, divorces will be granted when irreconcilable differences exist in the marriage.
Elimination of Fault
Previously, divorce in Illinois could be based on some sort of fault by one of the parties. This included acts such as adultery or physical and/or mental cruelty. As 2016 begins, Illinois will no longer deal with these fault grounds for divorce. Instead, under Illinois law, couples can get divorced when it is shown that they have irreconcilable differences causing an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This means that prior efforts at reconciliation have been unsuccessful and future attempts are not practicable.
Irreconcilable differences exist when there is an inability of the couple to agree on basic, fundamental issues and there is no possibility of them ever agreeing. Issues that may lead to a finding of irreconcilable differences include, but are not limited to:
- How to raise their children;
- Inability to trust one another;
- Consistent arguing; or
- Long physical separation.
In Illinois, a presumption of irreconcilable differences exists if the couple has lived separate and apart for a continuous period of six months immediately before the entry of judgment ending the marriage. This presumption cannot be rebutted or disproved. A judgment will not be entered until the court has considered issues like the allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, maintenance, and the disposition of marital property.
A person who is living separate and apart may request reasonable support and maintenance. If the court finds that the couple is legally separated, the same factors in awarding maintenance in divorce are considered in determining the maintenance award. This action for maintenance does not prevent either party from beginning an action for dissolution of marriage. If a proceeding for dissolution is initiated, temporary and permanent maintenance is decided again, unless the couple agreed in a separation agreement to non-modifiable permanent maintenance.
Help During Divorce
A dissolution of a marriage is a very emotional and difficult time. On top of all of that, there are legal issues that are important to resolve. By contacting an experienced Illinois family law attorney, you can help protect your rights. MKFM Law understands how stressful a divorce can be. We look forward to discussing how we can help you through this process. Call us today at 630-665-7300.