Citing Grounds or Irreconcilable Differences in an Illinois Divorce Case

Illinois law offers divorces in two ways: those where a specific reason is given (“grounds), and those where no reason is given (“irreconcilable differences”). Before filing for an Illinois divorce it is important to discuss with your attorney the best course of action for citing a reason, as giving a reason with grounds could present burden of proof issues that could affect the outcome of the divorce dependent on the intent of your ex-spouse. In Illinois we use the term "irreconcilable differences" to describe what others know as a "no fault" divorce. No-fault divorce is a divorce in which the dissolution of a marriage does not require a showing of wrongdoing by either party. Laws providing for no-fault divorce allow a family court or other court to grant a divorce in response to a petition by either party to the marriage, without requiring the petitioner to provide evidence that the respondent has committed a breach of the marital contract. To prove this reason, you must be separated from your spouse for at least 2 years, or 6 months if you're in agreement about the divorce. You must state that both of you have made all efforts to try to work out your problems, but your marriage cannot be saved. You do not need to describe any specific behavior that your spouse did to prove irreconcilable differences. On the other hand there is the ability to cite one of three grounds for divorce in Illinois. The issue with citing grounds in your Illinois divorce case is that each one carries a burden to prove or make a showing of the conduct being cited as the grounds. 1) Mental Cruelty: To prove mental cruelty you must describe repeated behavior by your spouse that made you feel sad, nervous, or upset. You must also show that you did nothing to make your spouse treat you in that way. 2) Physical Cruelty: To prove physical cruelty you must describe repeated physical acts of violence by your spouse towards you. You must also show that your spouse's actions injured you or made you scared, nervous or upset. You must also show that you did nothing to cause your spouse to act that way. 3) Drug Addiction or Drunkenness: The addiction must go on for at least two years. For more information on Family law and Divorce in the DuPage County area or within Illinois, contact Martoccio & Martoccio at 630-920-8855 or visit their website at

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