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Senate Bill 57: Changes to Divorce Law in Illinois

 Posted on August 07, 2015 in Divorce

changes to Illinois divorce law, DuPage County divorce lawyersOn January 1, 2016, changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), which governs marriage, divorce, custody, and support in Illinois, will take effect. Major changes of the IMDMA update include grounds for divorce and the length of time parties need to wait before obtaining a divorce.

Grounds for Divorce

Senate Bill 57 eliminates all fault-based grounds for divorce. Parties will no longer be able to file for divorce based on impotence or infertility, adultery, desertion or willful absence, bigamy, drunkenness, drug addiction, extreme physical or mental cruelty, felony conviction, or transmission of a sexually transmitted disease. Beginning next year, only no-fault divorce is available.

While no-fault divorce had been identified as constituting the existence of "irreconcilable differences," the new law has reframed the no-fault ground as an "irretrievable breakdown of the marriage." Current law (which expires at the end of 2015) required parties to show that they were living separate and apart for at least two years, irreconcilable differences, efforts at reconciliation have failed, and further attempts to reconcile would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.

Beginning next year, the law will state that in order to obtain a divorce, parties must show that there is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage that is caused by irreconcilable differences. The court must also find either that efforts to reconcile have failed, or that any attempts to reconcile would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family. If the court makes such a finding, then there is no requirement to show an attempted reconciliation.

Waiting Period

The change in grounds for divorce does not only impact what parties are required to prove in order to obtain a divorce; the waiting period-the required period of separation before a divorce is granted-has been lowered in contested divorces and eliminated in uncontested divorces. Under current law, one requirement for parties filing for divorce based on irreconcilable differences is that they live separate and apart for two years prior to obtaining a divorce.

Senate Bill 57 will no longer require parties to have lived separate and apart in order to obtain a no-fault divorce. However, parties who have lived separate and apart for at least six months will be able to use that period of separation to prove irreconcilable differences. Thus, having lived separate and apart for a period of six months will make it easier for parties to comply with the requirements for divorce, particularly if that divorce is contested.

At most, under the new law, parties will have to live separate and apart for six months-they will no longer have to live separate and apart for two years before being able to obtain a divorce.

Contact Our Attorneys for an Initial Consultation

If you have questions about filing for divorce, and what these changes to the law might mean for you, contact our skilled DuPage County divorce attorneys at The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. for a consultation today. Call 630-462-9500 to speak to a lawyer immediately.




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