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What Are the Legal Grounds For Divorce in Illinois?

Posted on in Divorce

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Marriages end for countless reasons. Sometimes, a married couple simply grows apart and realizes that their marriage is no longer beneficial to either partner. Other times, spouses divorce soon after their wedding because they quickly realized that getting married was a mistake. Many marriages also end because an adulterous spouse is having an affair. If you are considering getting a divorce, it is important to know the grounds for divorce in Illinois. Major changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) took effect in July of 2016, including an overhaul of the “grounds,” or reasons, a person can seek a divorce in Illinois. Read on to learn the current basis for filing for a divorce in Illinois and how instances of infidelity or other breaches of trust could affect your divorce proceedings.

Illinois is a Pure “No-Fault” State

Prior to the 2016 revamp of the IMDMA, there were several fault-based grounds for divorce in Illinois. They included adultery, impotence, a spouse infecting the other with a sexually transmitted disease, bigamy, alcohol or drug abuse, extreme physical or mental cruelty, a felony conviction, abandonment for at least a one-year period, and attempted murder of a spouse by the other. There was also a no-fault ground for divorce called “irreconcilable differences.” In 2016, all of the fault-based grounds for divorce were eliminated. Today, Illinois is a “pure no-fault state” when it comes to divorce. The only legal reason divorcing couples can site is “irreconcilable differences” which caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage with no hope for reconciliation.

Will Infidelity Influence My Divorce in Illinois?

If your marriage ended because your spouse cheated on you, you will not be able to note this in your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Furthermore, Illinois courts are not allowed to consider “marital misconduct” when making decisions about asset division or spousal support. However, infidelity can sometimes have an effect on certain aspects of a divorce. If you and your spouse have children together, and your spouse has a new boyfriend or girlfriend who is a convicted felon, a registered sex offender, or who in some way represents a danger to your children, this may influence the court’s decision regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly called child custody) and parenting time (formerly referred to as visitation). Another way that infidelity can influence an Illinois divorce is if the marital property was used to fund the affair. If your spouse has squandered marital assets buying expensive gifts or vacations for a mistress or paramour, you may be able to receive compensation for these wasted assets through a dissipation claim.

Contact a Western Springs Divorce Lawyer

The end of a marriage can be difficult under any circumstances. While the only grounds available when you file your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is “irreconcilable differences,” this does not mean that infidelity will not complicate your divorce. To learn more about your legal options and your rights in an Illinois divorce, contact Botti Marinaccio, LTD. Schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Cook County spousal maintenance attorneys by calling us today at 630-575-8585.


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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.


2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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