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Posted on in Divorce

Naperville family law attorneysA couple may decide to end their marriage for any number of reasons. In some situations, the spouses may have different philosophies regarding money or parenting strategies. In other cases, one partner could have destructive tendencies such as an inclination to be unfaithful or a history of physical or emotional abuse. Regardless of what drives a wedge between married spouses, the law in Illinois only permits a divorce on the no-fault grounds of irreconcilable differences.

A Modern Approach for Modern Families

For many years, Illinois law allowed either spouse to seek a divorce on about a dozen separate grounds. All but of one these were so-called “fault grounds,” which meant that if certain negative or destructive behaviors could be proven, the guilty spouse would be “at fault” for the divorce. Fault grounds included things like infidelity, repeated abuse, abandonment, substance abuse, and others.

Prior to 1977, the at-fault spouse could effectively be punished for his or her behavior in the divorce judgment. Guilty spouses often received a smaller portion of the marital assets, as well as fewer considerations in regard to alimony. Between 1977 and 2015, a person could pursue a divorce on fault grounds, but marital misconduct was not considered when deciding on asset division, maintenance, and other details of the divorce.

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Naperville divorce lawyerIt is a fairly common belief among divorcing couples that one must have “grounds,” or a specific reason, for a divorce. Historically, requiring grounds for divorce often served a purpose, in that any future spouse could look up records and see if the person they had chosen was to blame for the failure of his or her previous marriage. Nowadays, that idea is less in vogue due to the lessened stigma surrounding divorce. While there are states that still allow divorce on fault grounds, Illinois is no longer among them.

Fault Grounds

Up until a couple years ago, there were nine different grounds upon which a person could file for divorce—one of which was irreconcilable differences. The other eight all involved some alleged degree of fault. In other words, if a person’s spouse was guilty of any of the eight things listed as valid fault grounds, that person was permitted bring suit unilaterally to begin divorce proceedings. The grounds previously recognized in Illinois law were:

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorneysWhen you are going through a rough patch in your marriage, it can be easy to start thinking about what life could be like if you were single again. The stresses and challenges of married life may vary from couple to couple, and for some, the struggles simply become too much. Divorce has become increasingly common in Western culture over the last few decades, and the stigma that was once associated with ending a marriage has all but evaporated. Despite changing attitudes, divorce is still a major decision and a life-changing event, so the decision to divorce your spouse should not be taken lightly.

No Hope for Repairing the Marriage

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a divorce shall be granted to a couple when “irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” While most people focus on their “irreconcilable differences,” the court must also find that the marriage cannot be saved. In doing so, the court may consider efforts already made by the spouses—such as marital counseling or couple’s therapy—or possible future attempts. If the court determines that reconciliation is not possible or practical, the divorce may proceed.

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