So, you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce. What you may not have considered though, is that there are a plethora of other issues that you must discuss now that you have decided to separate. You must worry about things like a separation period, grounds for divorce, financial consequences of a divorce, and numerous other issues. To begin though, the first step toward filing for divorce is labeling the grounds.
Ground for Divorce
Illinois is not considered a no fault state. Therefore, you must have a ground for filing for divorce.
In Illinois the grounds for divorce include:
- Being impotent;
- One spouse committing adultery;
- One spouse deserting another;
- Continued drunkenness (for a period of more than two years);
- Drug abuse (for a period of more than two years);
- Abuse -- either physical or mental;
- Being convicted of a felony;
- Being infected with a sexually transmitted disease from your spouse; and/or
- Irreconcilable differences.
If spouses are filing for a divorce under irreconcilable differences, they have to wait until a two-year separation period has passed. However, if both parties agree to divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, the two-year separation date can be reduced to six months. During the separation period, the parties cannot live as a married couple. Though the parties may live in the same house (sometimes necessary for financial reasons), they must live as roommates rather than a couple. The spouses should not eat together, join in any activities together, and should present themselves to the public as separated, i.e. the spouses should not go out to eat together, attend religious ceremonies together or attend family gatherings together. They should also let family and friends know that they are separated.
In addition to the separation period, if spouses are filing for divorce using irreconcilable differences, they must show the court that there is an irreversible breakdown of the marriage and that all efforts have been made to attempt to continue the marriage, but they mentally or physically can no longer do so. This can be done, for example, by showing that the spouses have tried marriage counseling, but that it has failed to work.
Lastly, when deciding what grounds to file divorce under, please note that under Illinois law, the court is not allowed to consider the reason for divorce when determining how to distribute the property. This means that a judge will decide how to distribute the property, but his or her decision will not change if you have divorced for the reason of adultery. The judge will not give you a larger portion of the marital property just because the divorce was caused by your spouse.
For assistance with all your divorce concerns, please contact our experienced Naperville family law attorneys. We have five offices throughout Illinois and can help you understand the law and form a plan for your divorce that will benefit you.