Grounds for Divorce?

Did you know that in Illinois you still need to have a grounds for divorce?  This may be changing in the near future, but for now, when you file for divorce in Illinois, you must state one of the reasons listed below:

 

    • Impotence at the time of marriage and continuing through the date of filing
    • Either spouse had a living husband or wife at the time of the marriage
    • Adultery
    • Willful desertion of one spouse by the other of at least one (1) year. Willful desertion means that the spouse left voluntarily for no acceptable purpose (work, deployment in the military, etc.).
    • Habitual drunkenness for at least two (2) years
    • Gross and confirmed habits caused by the excessive use of addictive drugs for at least two (2) years. Excessive use of addictive drugs means that a person has used an addictive drug to the extent that it becomes a dominate or controlling purpose in his or her life.
    • Either spouse has attempted to take the life of the other by poison or other means showing malice
    • Extreme or repeated physical or mental cruelty
    • Conviction of a felony or other infamous crime
    • Either spouse has infected the other with a sexually transmitted disease
    • The spouses have lived apart for at least two (2) years and irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
    • The spouses have lived apart for at least six (6) months, irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and the spouses both waive the two (2) year waiting period

 

Most of the cases I have seen list “Extreme or repeated physical or mental cruelty” or “The spouses have lived apart for at least two (2) years and irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” or “The spouses have lived apart for at least six (6) months, irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and the spouses both waive the two (2) year waiting period.”  Many people get confused by the wording in the last two grounds; the word apart does not mean physically apart but actually means mentally apart; that they are no longer living their lives as a married couple.  Although, many times people are living physically apart and this helps to confirm that this ground is met. If you examine all of the grounds, they are quite severe and could reasonably cause the breakdown of a marriage.  The last two grounds seem to be in place to require couples, that have not experienced one of the other grounds, to have a waiting period to ensure that they want to move forward with a divorce.

 

There is talk that Illinois will become a no grounds state in the near future but for now when you are filing you must state at least one of these reasons.

 

 

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