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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.

Period of Separation Is Reduced

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.

All Fault Based Grounds For Divorce Are Gone

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:

  • Adultery;
  • Bigamy;
  • Desertion or willful absence from the marriage;
  • Drunkenness;
  • Drug addiction;
  • Extreme physical cruelty;
  • Extreme mental cruelty;
  • Felony conviction;
  • Infertility or impotence; and
  • Transmission of a sexually transmitted disease.

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.

What Must Be Shown For A Divorce Is Changing

Under the old law, the court granted a no-fault divorce when the divorcing couple could demonstrate the following:

  1. They satisfied the separation requirement;
  2. They have irreconcilable differences;
  3. Their efforts to reconcile the marriage failed; and
  4. Continuing to attempt reconciliation is impractical or not in the best interest of the family.

Under the new law, the court will grant a no-fault divorce when a divorcing couple demonstrates the following:

  1. They satisfied the separation requirement, if applicable; and
  2. There is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage caused by irreconcilable differences.

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.

Work with a Chicago Divorce Attorney to Learn More

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.

 

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Fax:312-283-8636
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Fax:312-283-8636
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Fax:312-283-8636
Lake Forest Office

100 Saunders Rd.
Suite 150
Lake Forest, IL 60045

Lisle Office

3333 Warrenville Rd.
Suite 200
Lisle, IL 60532

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84th Floor
Chicago, IL 60606

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