In Illinois, family law cases are governed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act is a statute which provides the Court with the power to decide the issues in a divorce proceeding, such as property issues and custody issues. In order for the Court to have the power to grant a divorce, the State of Illinois requires certain conditions be met.
First, at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of Illinois for at least 90 days prior to filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Second, the parties must have the requisite grounds for seeking a divorce. In Illinois, a party may seek a divorce on fault grounds or on no fault grounds. Parties most commonly seek divorce on no fault grounds. For no fault grounds, the Court must find that the parties have lived separate and apart, or in other words, have been separated, for at least six months prior to having the divorce entered. The Court must also find that irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, that any efforts the parties have made to reconcile have failed, and that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family. Essentially, this means that the Court must find that the parties tried to reconcile their differences, but were unable to do so. As a result, the marriage has broken down and any future attempts to reconcile simply will not work.
A party may also seek a divorce based upon the fault of the other party on the following grounds: that the other party is impotent, that the other party is already married to another person, the other party has willfully deserted his or her spouse for at least one year, that the other party has been guilty of habitual drunkenness or drug addiction during the marriage for at least two years, that the other party has been guilty of extreme and repeated physical or mental cruelty towards his or her spouse, that the other party has been convicted of a felony, or that the other party has infected his or her spouse with an sexually transmitted disease. Unlike no fault divorce, fault grounds do not require that the parties have lived separate and apart for a period of time. However, the party alleging the fault grounds must prove that these grounds not only exist, but that they exist because the fault of their spouse’s fault, not the party’s own fault. Because the party must show these grounds exist as a result of his or her spouse’s own fault, is important to note that seeking a divorce based upon fault grounds can be more difficult than seeking a divorce based upon no fault grounds. If you are seeking to file for a divorce in Illinois, please feel free to set up a consultation with our office.