Grounds for Dissolution of Marriage commencing January 1, 2016

Public Act 99-90 has eliminated the fault-based grounds for dissolution of marriage.  There will now only be a single ground for dissolution: irreconcilable differences.  The definition of irreconcilable differences remains the same: “irreconcilable differences” have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and the court determines that efforts at reconciliation have failure or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interest of the family.

If you and your spouse agree that irreconcilable differences have arisen in your marriage, there is technically no waiting period to enter your divorce decree.  If one spouse is contesting the grounds of irreconcilable differences, the legislature added a new subsection (a-5) to 750 ILCS 5/401, which states: if the parties live separate and apart for a continuous period of not less than 6 months immediately preceding the entry of the judgment dissolving the marriage, there is an irrebuttable presumption that the requirement of irreconcilable differences has been met.  This means that you can prove irreconcilable differences by living separate and apart from your spouse for six (6) months and your spouse has no valid rebut to same.

Additionally, there is no longer a requirement of a two-year period of separation (subject to waiver), and the presumption that the requirement has been met by living separate and apart for the designated period is no longer rebuttable.

The courts are still allowed to enter declarations of invalidity of marriage.  Invalidity of marriage is separate and apart from dissolution of marriage and thus it is not considered a ground for dissolution.

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