Many years ago, a divorce was only granted if one of the parties could prove that the other had done something so egregious that the marriage had no hope of continuing. These divorces were called “at-fault” and the reasons one could file were enumerated in the state statutes.
Most states have eliminated “at-fault” divorces in favor of the easier and less contentious “no-fault” divorce where a couple need only prove an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or irreconcilable differences in order to file for a divorce.
So which is it here?
Only a handful of states still allow “at-fault divorce” and Illinois is one of them. For all intents and purposes, there is very little difference between a no-fault divorce and an at-fault divorce, as courts do not use fault to determine property division or alimony amounts. If fault is found to exist on the part of one party, it may, however, affect custody and visitation issues.
Typically there are “grounds” one can cite if filing for an “at-fault” divorce. These include:
- Attempts on your spouse’s life
- Incarceration for a felony
- Infecting your spouse with an STD
What if none apply?
What if none of the above apply, or you just want to go for a straightforward “no-fault” divorce? A no-fault divorce is possible if you have been living apart for or least two years or, if you have been cohabitating, with proof that you live separate lives equal to being roommates.
You must have a breakdown of the marriage such that it cannot be fixed, have tried reconciliation and failed, and have exhausted all practicable methods to salvage the marriage (e.g. counseling.) The two year waiting period may be waived—and reduced to six months–if both of you agree in writing to waive the time limit.