When going through a divorce, you or your spouse may have to give a reason for ending the marriage. This reason is known as “grounds for divorce.”
Our attorneys at Buffalo Grove Law Offices can help you understand your options if you are thinking about getting a divorce or if you have been served by your spouse. We will walk you through the divorce process and help to make sure your rights and your children, if you have them, are protected.
Grounds For Divorce
The person who files for divorce must include grounds, or a legally accepted reason, for the divorce in the initial Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The only ground in the revised IMDMA (Divorce Act) is that the parties lived separate and apart continuously for not less than 6 months just before the day that final Judgment is entered in the divorce matter. This is called “Irreconcilable Differences” and it must have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and the court determines that efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts at reconciliation would not be practical and not in the best interest of the family. Sec. 401 IMDMA
Grounds used to include the following, but they are not used anymore:
- Without cause or provocation by the petitioner: the respondent was at the time of such marriage, and continues to be naturally impotent;
- the respondent had a wife or husband living at the time of the marriage;
- the respondent had committed adultery subsequent to the marriage;
- the respondent has willfully deserted or absented himself or herself from the petitioner for the space of one year, including any period during which litigation may have pended between the spouses for dissolution of marriage or legal separation;
- the respondent has been guilty of habitual drunkenness for the space of two years;
- the respondent has been guilty of gross and confirmed habits caused by the excessive use of addictive drugs for the space of two years;
- the respondent has attempted the life of the other by poison or other means showing malice;
- the respondent has been guilty of extreme and repeated physical or mental cruelty;
- the respondent has been convicted of a felony or other infamous crime;
- the respondent has infected the other with a sexually transmitted disease;
- the spouses have lived separate and apart for a continuous period in excess of two years and irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and the court determines that efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family. If the spouses have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of not less than six months next preceding the entry of the judgment dissolving the marriage, as evidenced by testimony or affidavits of the spouses, the requirement of living separate and apart for a continuous period in excess of two years may be waived upon written stipulation of both spouses filed with the court. At any time after the parties cease to cohabit, the following periods shall be included in the period of separation:
- Any period of cohabitation during which the parties attempted in good faith to reconcile and participated in marriage counseling under the guidance of any of the following: a psychiatrist, a clinical psychiatrist, a clinical social worker, a marriage and family therapist, a person authorized to provide counseling in accordance with the prescriptions of any religious denomination, or a person regularly engaged in providing family or marriage counseling; and any period of cohabitation under written agreement of the parties to attempt to reconcile.
- The date of when the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage occurred is often an issue (for dissipation or other issues). An irretrievable breakdown is not a prolonged gradual process extending from the initial signs of trouble in a marriage until the actual breakdown itself. The correct date is the date by which it is apparent that a breakdown is inevitable.
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