Evidence-Based Divorce in Illinois

Cake Split in Half

The majority of marriage dissolution actions, both nationwide and in The Land of Lincoln, are no-fault divorces. These divorce actions are easy to prove, as they require only the testimony of one spouse that the couple has “lived separate and apart” for the requisite period and “irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” Even if the non-filing spouse insists that the parties can reconcile, the judge will most likely conclude that the spouses are obviously not on the same page, and that future reconciliation attempts would be fruitless.

All that being said, a fault divorce may be a better option, in many cases. Some people have very compelling personal or religious reasons for wanting or needing a declaration of marital fault. Perhaps more importantly, the waiting period in an evidence-based divorce is always substantially shorter, or maybe even nonexistent.

Grounds for Divorce

Section 401 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act sets forth nine grounds for divorce, in addition to the no-fault provision:

  • Impotence: If either spouse is naturally incapable of having children, a divorce maybe granted.
  • Desertion: The absent spouse must remain away for at least a year; any period of legal separation or divorce litigation may be included in this calculation.
  • Alcohol or Drug Use: The addiction must last at least two years, and it must be so powerful that it “becomes a controlling or a dominant purpose of his life.”
  • Attempted Murder of a Spouse: The filing spouse must prove that there was “malice” in the act.
  • Physical or Mental Cruelty: “Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, and three times is enemy action,” according to spy novelist Ian Fleming. A similar analysis applies here, although two instances may be sufficient, in some cases.
  • Intentional Infliction of a Sexually Transmitted Disease: This one really needs no further explanation.
  • Criminal Conviction: The statute limits the scope to a felony or “other infamous crime,” but does not define the latter term.
  • Bigamy: It is both illegal and grounds for divorce to be married to two different people at the same time.
  • Adultery: Any physical romantic relationship, with or without sexual contact, is legally adulterous. Pornography, online adult chat rooms, and other “virtual affairs” are in a grey area.

It is a defense to prove that the petitioner caused or provoked the offending conduct; for example, a spouse who left the marital home for more than a year to escape the threat of physical cruelty in unlikely to be found at-fault for abandonment.

Both evidence-based and no-fault divorces are available in Illinois. For a free consultation with a compassionate Naperville divorce attorney, contact our office. Convenient payment plans are available.

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