Everybody’s Got One: Reasons For Divorce

People get divorced for a multitude of different reasons. Illinois law provides specific categories into which your reasons for divorce will inevitably fall. While the categories are finite in nature, nearly any reason for parting ways can fit into one category or another. Ultimately, if one of the ‘at fault’ reasons do not fit your needs, there are always catchalls to fill in the spaces between more specific reasons.


An individual or couple can file for divorce using the grounds of impotence as a reason. In past decades one of the most important reasons for getting married was to have children. Recognizing the importance of parenting, lawmakers responded by declaring impotency as a grounds for divorce.

Already Married

If one’s spouse was already married at the time of their marriage, Illinois recognizes this as grounds for divorce. More likely, however, is that the second marriage is void, as the law will typically treat these marriages as if they never happened. Property will be redistributed appropriately.

Respondent Committed Adultery

Adultery is one of the most common causes of divorce. It is not a complicated topic, and is the result of one party making allegations of adultery against the other party.


If a person deserts their spouse for at least a year, the spouse has the option of filing for divorce under the grounds of desertion. The desertion must be willful, meaning that it was the choice or will of the deserting party to leave their spouse for that period. This period can include the time in which litigation is pending regarding a dissolution of the marriage or a legal separation.


A spouse may file for divorce on the grounds that the other is habitually drunk. Illinois statute requires that such a behavior needs to continue for the space of at least two years in order to be actionable for divorce.

Drug Addiction

Addressing the habitual use of other substances, Illinois law provides grounds for divorce for the excessive use of addictive drugs for two years as well. Using the vague term of ‘addictive drugs’ leaves much open to interpretation, requiring one to truly address the nature of addiction.

 Attempted Murder

Unsurprisingly, a spouse can file for divorce if the other makes an attempt against their life by means of poison or any other method showing malice.


Cases involving extreme and repeated physical or mental cruelty are also grounds for divorce in the state of Illinois. It may be advisable to obtain a protection order in cases involving physical cruelty.


A felony conviction of one spouse is considered grounds for divorce.


A spouse can file for divorce if their significant other infects them with a sexually transmitted disease.

Irreconcilable Differences

The catchall of grounds for divorce, irreconcilable differences basically means that there is no hope that the couple can work through their problems and fix issues plaguing the relationship. Statutorily requiring a two year separation, this requirement can be waived under most circumstances.

It is important to remember that while marriage requires the agreement of both parties, it only takes one person to request a divorce. Many people make the unfortunate mistake of believing that it takes two to end a relationship. While most of these grounds may not apply to your circumstances, the outright resolution of one party to leave the marriage will most likely fall under irreconcilable differences.

While there are multiple reasons for divorce, the only way to be sure which way is right for you, and to make sure your Illinois divorce sticks, is to contact competent legal professionals experienced with divorce. Contact the skilled Illinois family law attorneys at Martoccio & Martoccio to help you with this difficult process.

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