Illinois and No-Fault Divorce

A couple sitting apart from one another. The woman has her arms wrapped around herself in comfort, as she looks distressed.

The Basis for the Breakup

Sometimes a marriage simply does not work out the way you hoped it would. Getting a divorce seems to be the best option for you and your spouse. When preparing to file, however, you may have heard that Illinois is a no-fault state as it relates to divorce, and you might be wondering exactly what this means. Here is what you need to know.

Pure “No-Fault” State

Prior to 2016, Illinois law gave provisions for divorces based on both fault-based grounds such as infidelity and no-fault-based grounds, referring to irreconcilable differences. However, state lawmakers passed a bill removing the fault grounds and, therefore, only allowing for a no-fault divorce.

A “no-fault” divorce is based on the grounds that the couple has determined that there are irreconcilable differences between them that make the marriage permanently irreparable despite the couple’s best efforts to reconcile the problems they face. Filing on this basis also implies that any future attempts at reconciliation would be considered futile, cementing that the marriage simply does not work.

While the law no longer allows for fault to be included on a petition for dissolution, actions such as adultery or cruelty could play into these irreconcilable differences that are listed as the basis for the divorce.

Can Fault Impact a Divorce?

Because of the law change in 2016, fault-based grounds such as marital misconduct cannot be included on a petition for dissolution of marriage nor can they be used when determining issues such as property division or child support. There are certain conditions, however, where misconduct could influence parental responsibility or parenting time, but this is only if such actions pose a danger to the wellbeing of a child.

Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C.

If you are unsure of how you should proceed with filing for divorce, it is important to hire a divorce attorney to help you throughout the process. Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C. knows that starting a divorce can be challenging and stressful, which is why we are here to help you.


To schedule your consultation with a member of our team of Illinois divorce attorneys, call us at (312) 487-2795 or visit us online.

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