No-Fault Divorce

What is a No-Fault Divorce?

When people get married, they do so with the intention that the marriage will last forever. They do not begin their marriage thinking about divorce. But as time passes in any marriage there are issues that arise.

People often believe that their issues will have legal significance. One spouse may have had an affair, or there may be issues of emotional or physical abuse. Illinois is a “no-fault” state, and these issues are not presented to the court as the cause or “legal grounds” for the divorce, meaning that there is no fault assigned to either person and that such things do not need to be proven in the divorce process in order to obtain a divorce.

What Does a No-Fault Divorce Mean?

In Illinois, the only grounds for divorce are “irreconcilable differences.” The spouse who petitions for divorce only must assert that:

  1. Irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage;
  2. Efforts at reconciliation have failed; and
  3. Future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.

Some no-fault divorce states allow courts to consider fault when dividing assets. Illinois is not one of them.

Fault is Not Considered in Asset Division

In states that allow fault to be an issue when dividing assets, courts may give more of the assets to the party who was not at fault. The purpose is to punish the at-fault party, such as the adulterer or abuser. Illinois does not allow for this “punishment” of an at-fault spouse and fault is not a factor in the division of assets.

Wasting Assets

One situation in which assets may be divided in light of a “marital misconduct,” is where a spouse wasted marital assets. This may occasionally appear to punish one spouse for adultery or other misconduct when the wasting of assets is proved by showing one spouse spent marital funds on a person with whom the spouse was having an affair.

The seeming “punishment” is not for the affair, but for the use of marital assets for a non-marital purpose. Even in these scenarios, Illinois courts maintain that fault is not a consideration.

For more information on filing a divorce petition and for assistance in all other aspects of the divorce process, contact us at Bruckner Hernandez Legal Solutions, LLC, to schedule a consultation.