January 01, 2016
Three significant changes to provisions of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act will impact divorce proceedings in 2016. The first change impacts how long divorcing couples must wait and live separately before obtaining a divorce. The second change impacts the grounds for divorce; at-fault grounds for divorce will no longer exist. The third change sets forth the standard that only an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” constitutes no-fault grounds for divorce. These changes in the law became effective on January 1, 2016.
The old law required a divorcing couple to live separate and apart before the court could grant their divorce. For contested divorces, the old law required a separation period of two years. For uncontested divorces, the old law required a separation period of six months.
The new law significantly reduced the required period of separation. For contested divorces, the new law reduced the required separation period to six months. For uncontested divorces, the new law eliminated the required separation period entirely.
Under the old law, a married couple could obtain a divorce when one partner to the marriage was at fault for the deterioration or destruction of the marriage. The fault based grounds for divorce included:
The changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act eliminated all of the at-fault grounds for divorce and now only a no-fault grounds for divorce remains.
Under the old law, the court granted a no-fault divorce when the divorcing couple could demonstrate the following:
Under the new law, the court will grant a no-fault divorce when a divorcing couple demonstrates the following:
The couple may use a six month period of separation to demonstrate irreconcilable differences. The new law no longer requires the divorcing couple to show that the reconciliation failed and that attempts to reconcile would not be in the best interest of the family or be impractical. Instead, the court will make a finding as to whether the couple demonstrated irreconcilable differences.
If you are seeking a divorce during this transition period of the law, you can contact the team of experienced divorce attorneys at the Women’s Divorce & Family Law Group serving Chicago, Lake Forest, Lisle, and the surrounding areas. We can help you through this change and can help you get your divorce completed as quickly as possible. Please give us a call at (312) 445-8830 to begin working with our firm.