What are the grounds for divorce?

In order to be divorced in the state of Illinois, you must allege specific grounds for the dissolution. For example, you might have irreconcilable differences. You might have extreme and repeated mental cruelty. You might have extreme and repeated physical cruelty, habitual drunkenness, adultery or several other grounds.

The most common ground for divorce is irreconcilable differences. Irreconcilable differences simply states that the parties have differences that cannot be worked out. Attempts at reconciliation have failed and the parties consider the marriage over. In Illinois, you must be live in separate and apart, not functioning properly as husband and wife for at least two years to proceed on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. However, the parties to have the ability to stipulate that two-year waiting period down to six months if they can do it by agreement. Other grounds have no waiting period such as mental cruelty and physical cruelty and adultery. In the case where a spouse has departed for more than a year without any information as to his or her whereabouts, a petitioner can use the grounds of desertion as long as he or she did not do anything to cause that other party leaving.

Grounds are typically proved up at the time of the Judgment for Dissolution and the court will scrutinize certain grounds more than others. For example, irreconcilable differences is the most common ground where nobody is pointing a finger at one another; they just simply have acknowledged and agreed that differences have caused the breakdown of the marriage. The court is very liberal in allowing that type of ground to be proved up.

When we are talking about physical cruelty, mental cruelty or adultery, the court is going to want much more specific information concerning the cruelty, concerning the adultery. For these reasons, it is much more common to see attorneys using irreconcilable differences, especially since marital fault has no bearing on the division of assets of the parties. Illinois is a no-fault state so you can be the worst spouse of the world, you are still entitled to your fair share of the marital estate and you are still responsible for your fair share of the marital debt.