Fault-Based Divorce in Illinois

divorce grounds, Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawer,If you are considering divorce in Illinois, there are important issues to consider before filing your case in court. One such consideration is what ground to file for divorce. In Illinois, spouses can file for an either no-fault or a fault-based divorce. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to file for divorce on a fault-based ground. In order to determine how and when to file for divorce, it is important to contact an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney.

What Are Fault Grounds?

Filing for a fault-based divorce basically means that you need a divorce due to your spouse’s misbehavior. Claiming that your spouse’s actions necessitate the dissolution of the marriage is a serious assertion. Historically, a spouse could be charged with a crime for certain marital faults, such as adultery. While modern spouses do not have to worry about a criminal case stemming from a fault-based divorce, the spouse initiating the divorce does need to consider how to file. Illinois courts require a reason for two spouses to dissolve their marriage.

The most common reason is “irreconcilable differences,” often called a no-fault divorce. Less commonly, a person may want to file based on a fault ground. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act defines the grounds on which a person can file for divorce. A fault-based divorce may be filed when a person alleges their spouse committed the following:

  • Adultery;
  • Mental cruelty;
  • Physical cruelty;
  • Drug addiction or drunkenness of at least two years;
  • Desertion of at least one year;
  • Convicted of a felony; or
  • Infected the spouse with an STD.

If you feel you cannot file due to irreconcilable differences, you may want to file based on a fault ground. This can be an emotional decision, and may lead to a complicated divorce process. Before filing, discuss your decision with a well-practiced divorce attorney in your area.

The Impact of a Fault-Based Divorce

Unlike some states, alleging your spouse engaged in marital misconduct does not impact the amount of alimony or custody arrangements in your divorce case. State law forbids judges from taking spousal fault into consideration when granting or denying a petition for alimony. Likewise, a spouse’s alleged marital fault will not impact whether he or she is awarded custody of the parties’ child. Of course, such custody considerations are limited to marital misconduct; any misconduct towards the child will be taken into consideration.

Legally, a major difference between filing for a fault-based versus a no-fault divorce is the required waiting period. When filing for a no-fault divorce, state law requires both spouses to be living separately and apart for at least two years prior to filing for divorce. There is no such requirement when filing on fault-based grounds, meaning that a divorce can get underway sooner.

DuPage Divorce Lawyers Can Help

At Martoccio & Martoccio, our experienced divorce lawyers understand the emotional decision to file for divorce. We have helped countless DuPage County residents through divorce. Discuss your divorce filing options with one of our dedicated DuPage County family lawyers today. Contact us now for a free, same-day initial consultation.

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