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Fault Divorce Eliminated in Illinois

Posted on in No Fault Divorce

fault, divorce, Aurora family law attorneyIn less than two weeks, a new era of family law is set to begin in Illinois. For the first time in nearly four decades, state’s statutes regarding divorce and other family-related concerns is being completely revamped. After receiving bipartisan support in the Illinois House and Senate this past spring, the reform was signed by the governor in July and is set to become effective on January 1, 2016. The measure takes aim at a large number of provisions in the law, including child custody, out-of-area relocation, and more, but one of the biggest changes affects the way that divorce is handled in the state.

Grounds for Divorce

Currently, there are about a dozen grounds for divorce that are based on the behavior of a spouse. These include what you might expect: adultery, abandonment, mental or physical cruelty, habitual drunkenness, severe substance abuse, and the conviction of a serious felony or other infamous crime. A divorce on one of these grounds is said to a “fault” divorce, casting the blame, in a legal sense, on the spouse whose actions led to the breakdown of the marriage.

A major disadvantage of a fault divorce, however, is the requirement that the petitioner provide proof of their alleged behavior. It is not always easy to find definitive evidence of cheating or mental abuse, so obtaining such a divorce is often a challenge, despite the circumstances.

No-Fault Divorce Only

Beginning next year, a divorce will only be granted on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. This “no-fault” version of divorce has been available in the state for a number of years, and, in that time, has become the most common type of dissolution. A divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences simply acknowledges that the marriage has deteriorated beyond repair, but assigns no official liability to either party.

Other than personal satisfaction, there is little reason for a spouse to seek to prove a claim of fault in divorce. Considerations for spousal maintenance and property division are already prohibited from accounting for marital misconduct. Similarly, child related matters also only look at a parent’s behavior if it directly affects the child in some way.

Divorce Help

If you are considering a divorce, the team at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams is equipped to help you with your case. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney for guidance throughout the process and to answer any questions you may have regarding the new laws. Call 630-409-8184 today to schedule a confidential introductory consultation.


The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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