No-Fault Divorce

No-Fault Divorce: Understanding Divorce Requirements in the State of Illinois

While some states assess blame, Illinois mandates no-fault divorce.  However, many Illinois residents believe their issues hold legal influence. For instance, one spouse may blame another for an affair. In another example, spouses commonly cite emotional and physical abuse.

Despite the accusation, Illinois’ “no-fault” status does not consider these issues to be legal grounds for a divorce. The reason? The Illinois divorce process doesn’t require the court to assign blame.

What Does a No-Fault Divorce Mean?

As a no-fault divorce state, Illinois contains simple grounds for divorce. In short, the parties need “irreconcilable differences”. Irreconcilable differences hold three criteria:

  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.

Although some no-fault states consider fault during asset division, Illinois does not.

Courts Do Not Consider Fault in Asset Division

In states that allow fault to be an issue when dividing assets, courts tend to give more of the assets to the party who was not at fault. This comes with the purpose of “punishing” the at-fault party, like in cases of cheating and abuse. However, Illinois does not allow for this “punishment” of an at-fault spouse. Furthermore, fault does not factor into the division of assets.

That said, there are legal caveats, namely when wasted assets come into play. For example, a spouse having an affair may waste assets while conducting “marital misconduct”. In these cases, courts don’t punish the “at-fault” party for the affair; they punish the party for wasting the marital property. However, agreements help to further clarify the boundaries of marital property.

Even in these scenarios, Illinois courts maintain that fault is not a consideration. For legal guidance through a no-fault divorce, contact the family law firm at Bruckner Hernandez Legal Solutions, LLC.

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