The Disappearance of At-Fault Divorce in Illinois

As of January 1, 2016, the rewritten version of the Illinois Marriage & Dissolution of Marriage Act (Public Act 99-90) will come into effect. This will come with several major changes, not the least of which is the transformation of Illinois into a purely no-fault divorce state. Yes, you read that correctly. In less than two months there will be no more At-Fault divorce in Illinois.

What does this mean?divorce in illinois

Up until January 1st, Illinois courts have accepted divorce claims based on the following reasons, of which one spouse is considered to be at fault:

  • Adultery
  • Physical or mental cruelty
  • Desertion/abandonment
  • Bigamy
  • Addiction or mental illness
  • Impotency
  • Felony conviction

Why switch to the purely no-fault system?

Some people pursued at fault divorces in order to receive a greater percentage of the marital property, or because they sought to avoid being ordered to pay alimony. However, the majority of divorces already proceed under the claim of irreconcilable differences. The process is considered quicker and less adversarial as it does not depend on proving the misconduct of one spouse.

Does this mean I can be divorced without my consent?

Due to the fact that the only necessary grounds for divorce are that there are irreconcilable differences in the marriage, attempting to contest the divorce only further proves the division between the parties. Furthermore, under the new law the two-year required separation period has been shortened to six months. Under the current law, this two-year period can be shortened to six months if both parties consent to signing a waiver. Under the new law, there is no more waiver, and the only prerequisite for filing divorce is that the parties have been living separately for at least six months at the time of filing. This removes another option for a non-willing spouse to prevent or postpone the divorce. Depending on the circumstances of the marriage, this could be considered either a positive or a negative change.

If you have questions about how the new laws will affect your pending divorce, contact the Law Office of Michael P. Doman, Ltd. to schedule a consultation. Our knowledgeable legal team is here to help and to protect your rights. Call today.