In 2016, Illinois officially became a no-fault divorce state, which means that spouses who decide to dissolve their marriages are no longer required to prove that one or the other was at fault for the union’s failure. Instead, the parties need only demonstrate that irreconcilable differences have led to the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, a claim that can be verified through proof that a couple has been living separate and apart for at least six months. Even when this burden has been met, divorcing couples must still grapple with complicated issues, such as property division, spousal maintenance, and if the parties have children, parenting time and child support. For help ensuring that your own best interests are protected during this process, please contact one of our dedicated Northbrook divorce attorneys today.
A couple will only be able to file for divorce in Illinois if at least one of the parties is a resident of the state. Once residency has been established, a couple will need to take a series of procedural steps to actually start the divorce process. This includes filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and submitting all necessary paperwork, at which point a summons will be issued to the other spouse. The respondent, or spouse who receives the petition then has one month to file a response. Those who fail to do so are held in default and the divorce will automatically be considered uncontested.
There are two basic types of divorce in Illinois, which are known as contested and uncontested divorce. The former applies to situations in which a couple disagrees about at least one of the following divorce-related matters:
When divorcing spouses are unable to reach an agreement on these issues, the presiding judge will step in and make a decision on the parties’ behalf.
Uncontested divorces, on the other hand, occur when both spouses agree on all of these legal matters and have reached an out-of-court arrangement. However, even in these cases, courts will only grant a divorce after approving the agreement, which must be in writing, signed in the presence of a judge, equitable, fair, and in the best interests of the couple’s children. Petitioners can also be granted an uncontested divorce if their spouse does not reply within one month of receiving the summons to appear before the court.
Regardless of whether a divorce is contested or uncontested, the parties will not be required to prove that one or the other was at fault for the end of the marriage, as Illinois is a pure no-fault divorce state. Instead, the parties must only demonstrate that their marriage has irretrievably broken down as the result of irreconcilable differences.
If you and your spouse have decided to file for divorce, you need the advice of an experienced Northbrook divorce attorney. Please call The Law Offices of George M. Sanders P.C. today to learn more about how we can help.