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Fault-Based Divorce in Illinois

Marriage is a right enjoyed by millions of Americans. Many young people look forward to the day when they will get married, and thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision, the right is now available to more United States citizens than ever. Unfortunately, not all marriages remain "happily ever after," and many marriages end in divorce. In Illinois, there are a number of grounds based on which someone can petition a court to dissolve his or her marriage.

Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce

Illinois law provides for both no-fault and fault-based divorce; no-fault divorce requires the parties to be separated for at least two years prior to the divorce. Those seeking a fault-based divorce in Illinois generally do not have to be separated for two years before divorcing, but need to file based one of the statutory "grounds," or reasons, for asking the court to dissolve the marriage. According to Illinois law, there are roughly 10 grounds that can form the basis for a divorce in which one of the spouses was at-fault.

to a recent Supreme Court decision, the right is now available to more United States citizens than ever. Unfortunately, not all marriages remain "happily ever after," and many marriages end in divorce. In Illinois, there are a number of grounds based on which someone can petition a court to dissolve his or her marriage.

Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce

Illinois law provides for both no-fault and fault-based divorce; no-fault divorce requires the parties to be separated for at least two years prior to the divorce. Those seeking a fault-based divorce in Illinois generally do not have to be separated for two years before divorcing, but need to file based one of the statutory "grounds," or reasons, for asking the court to dissolve the marriage. According to Illinois law, there are roughly 10 grounds that can form the basis for a divorce in which one of the spouses was at-fault.

Adultery

If one spouse has committed adultery, then the other can use that as a reason to dissolve the marriage. It is important to note that the adultery must occur after the marriage has begun. Adultery from before the parties were married will not be a proper grounds for dissolution of the marriage. While recrimination, or the fact that both spouses were unfaithful during the marriage, is no defense, Illinois does recognize condonation, or the fact that the "wronged" spouse condoned or approved of the adultery, as a defense to divorce based on adultery.

Willful Absence

A married person can seek a fault-based divorce if their spouse has been "willfully absent" from the marriage for a period of one year. This means that the spouse must have chosen to leave the marriage and not return.

Physical or Mental Cruelty

A spouse who has suffered abuse or domestic violence, rising to the level of physical or mental cruelty, during their marriage, can raise this as a ground to petition the court for divorce.

Impotence or Infertility

A spouse may seek a divorce if the other spouse was impotent or infertile at the time the marriage occurred, and remained impotent during the marriage.

Other Grounds for Fault-Based Divorce

There are a number of other grounds based upon which a court to grant a fault-based divorce, including:

  • The at-fault spouse was already legally married to another living person;
  • The at-fault spouse has been addicted to alcohol or drugs for at least two years
  • The at-fault spouse has transmitted a sexually transmitted disease to the spouse seeking the divorce;
  • The at-fault spouse has attempted to poison or murder the other spouse; or
  • The at-fault spouse has been convicted of a felony or other crime of infamy.

Call Our Illinois Divorce Attorneys Today

If you have questions about filing for divorce, and what options might be right for you, contact our experienced DuPage County divorce lawyers at The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. Our law office has over 40 years of legal experience serving clients in the Chicagoland area. Call 630-462-9500 to schedule an initial consultation with a skilled divorce attorney.

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Wheaton, IL 60189

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