Although Illinois requires grounds for a divorce, you may be eligible for the no-fault grounds of “irreconcilable differences.” If you have been separated for two years prior to the final divorce hearing, you may get a divorce if you can prove that irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, that past attempts at reconciliation failed, and that future attempts would be impracticable and not in the best interest of the family. Couples can agree to waive the full two-year waiting period if they have been separated for at least six months. Separation does not require living in separate homes; rather, separation refers to the emotional relationship. If you both consider the marriage dead at a given point, you are considered separated even though you continue to reside in the same home.
Despite the frequent use of the no-fault grounds of irreconcilable differences, Illinois law still allows one spouse to allege fault-based grounds such as mental cruelty, physical cruelty, adultery, abandonment, and a variety of other grounds. If you do allege fault grounds, you will need to prove those grounds at a trial. If you can’t prove grounds by sufficient evidence, you cannot proceed with other issues, and the divorce cannot be granted. Today, grounds are mostly symbolic, and the court can’t consider them when deciding other divorce issues such as maintenance, support, or property division. You gain no advantage in the divorce by alleging fault versus no- fault (irreconcilable differences) grounds.
Sometimes people allege fault grounds because they are angry with their spouse––often rightfully so. But once you start the fight it is often hard to stop it when you become less angry.
Although there is nothing wrong with symbolically ex- pressing your dismay over your spouse’s conduct, the better approach is to go to counseling and learn to emotionally pro- cess the betrayal. Don’t use the divorce proceeding as your method of choice to seek revenge. That frequently backfires and will only hurt you (and your children) more.
You can purchase Steven Peskind's book titled, Divorce in Illinois: The Legal Process, Your Rights and What to Expect on Amazon.com by clicking here.