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dupage county divorce lawyerOnce you have made the decision to get a divorce, the last thing you want a divorce that drags on for months or even years. However, that is the reality for people whose divorce situations are unusual or complex. Some divorces will understandably take longer to complete than others, especially when certain issues are present. A lengthy divorce can take a toll on the couple, their children, and their wallets, but there are things that you can do to speed up the process and help keep your divorce on track.

The Grounds and Waiting Period for Divorce in Illinois 

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), a couple can only get divorced if, “irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage. Basically, you must show to the court that you and your spouse have differences you cannot settle and that it would not be in the best interests of the family for you and your spouse to continue to be married. If a spouse denies that there are irreconcilable differences, living separately and apart for six months creates an “irrebuttable presumption” of irreconcilable differences. There is no waiting period if you and your spouse both agree to get divorced.

Tips to Make Your Divorce Go By Faster

Even though the divorce may last at least a couple of months, there are things you can do to help the divorce stay on track:

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DuPage County divorce attorney for irreconcilable differencesDivorce looks different for every couple. Some divorced couples end their marriage and never speak to each other again. Other couples remain on good terms and even take family vacations together after their split. Some may even continue to live together after getting divorced. If you are in a situation where it may make sense to continue living with your soon-to-be-ex, you may wonder, “Can I get divorced in Illinois if we are still living together?”

Understanding Illinois’ Rules Regarding Living Separately and Apart

One of the many changes to Illinois divorce law that took place in 2016 was a revision of the grounds for divorce. In the past, divorcing spouses could assert fault-based grounds such as adultery or the no-fault ground of “irreconcilable differences.” If the spouse alleged a fault-based ground, the mandatory separation period was six months. If the couple alleged irreconcilable differences, the mandatory separation period was two years.

Presently, there are no fault-based grounds for divorce in Illinois. The only grounds available is irreconcilable differences. There is also no mandatory separation period. You do not have to live apart for any length of time before you qualify for divorce. However, if a spouse contests the claim of irreconcilable differences, living apart for six months may be used as proof that irreconcilable differences have been established.

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Wheaton lawyer for filing for divorceCOVID-19 has deeply affected millions of Americans. Many have faced job loss or reduced work hours because of shutdowns. Others have had to quit their jobs to be at home with their children during remote learning. If you are in a difficult financial position and want to file for divorce, you may have concerns about how your financial hardship may affect your situation. You may have heard that there was a mandatory separation period before a couple could get divorced but are unsure of what exactly is required. If you and your ex cannot afford to live in separate homes, can you still be granted a divorce?

Changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act Address the Separation Period

Major changes to the laws that govern marriage and divorce in Illinois were enacted in 2016. Among the many changes was a modernization of the “grounds” or reasons that a spouse may request a divorce. Before the changes, spouses could claim fault-based grounds for divorce, such as impotence, infidelity, abuse, or drug addiction. Following the change, all of the fault-based grounds have been abolished.

There is now only one no-fault ground available for divorce in Illinois: irreconcilable differences. If you wish to file for divorce under no-fault grounds, you must state that:

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Wheaton divorce attorney for infidelity and asset dissipationCheating and affairs in a marriage often lead to divorce. In some cases, spouses file for divorce immediately after the affair comes to light. In other cases, a couple may try to salvage their marriage after an affair, but they may ultimately decide that too much damage to the relationship has occurred. If you have found yourself in this situation, you may be unsure of what to do. Whether the unfaithful partner was you or your spouse, you probably have questions about how marital infidelity can influence an Illinois divorce. Regardless of the exact circumstances, infidelity can lead to additional contention and confusion in a divorce. An experienced divorce lawyer can help.  

Grounds for Divorce

Illinois is a no-fault divorce state. The state’s laws previously included fault-based “grounds” or reasons for divorce, such as abandonment, cruelty, and infidelity. However, Illinois has since eliminated these grounds. Now, the only grounds available when filing for divorce is “irreconcilable differences.” Infidelity or other reasons for ending their marriage will not be included in a spouse’s petition for divorce.

Financial Implications of an Affair

Although there are no longer fault-based grounds for divorce in Illinois, a spouse’s infidelity can still impact the divorce. If a spouse used marital funds or property to finance their affair, the other spouse may file a “dissipation of assets” claim against him or her. According to Illinois case law, dissipation occurs when a spouse uses marital property on a purpose not related to the marriage while the marriage is undergoing an irreversible breakdown. Funds spent on gifts or vacations with an affair partner may be considered dissipated assets. During the divorce process, the spouse who dissipated the assets may be required to reimburse the marital estate for the value of those assets.

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DuPage County divorce lawyer irreconcilable differences

If you are considering divorce, you may have heard about the different “grounds” or reasons that a person can give when seeking to dissolve their marriage. Traditionally, these grounds have included an identification of which spouse was at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Of course, marriages end for a wide variety of reasons, and identifying a specific cause for the failure of the relationship is not always easy. Sometimes, a couple simply grows apart or stops being in love with each other. Updates to Illinois law have now taken this reality into consideration with regard to the grounds for divorce.

Previous Illinois Grounds for Divorce

Before major changes were made to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), anyone wishing to get divorced in Illinois would need to identify grounds for their divorce. These grounds included several “fault” grounds which included but were not limited to:

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