Grounds for Pursuing a Divorce

The decision to divorce can be emotional, but may be the only way to end a toxic relationship. Of course, when entering into a marriage with a loved one, both spouses hope that their love will last forever. However, the harsh reality is that this is not always the case.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the marriage, it is not uncommon for a spouse to realize that it is no longer healthy to continue being married. Thus, the law allows for two people who have entered into a marriage to obtain a divorce and to go their separate ways. In the past, divorces were only awarded in special circumstances and those who obtained a divorce were often judged by society. Nowadays, divorce is much more common and is awarded for specific reasons, as well as for “irreconcilable differences” (when neither spouse is at fault).

Illinois Law on Divorce

In Illinois, the legal name for a divorce is a judgment for dissolution of marriage. The laws related to divorce are governed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (“The Act”). The Act provides guidelines for pursuing a divorce as well as child custody. According to the Act, a spouse can file for dissolution of marriage for the following reasons:

  • Mental cruelty: Although there is no clear definition for what constitutes mental cruelty, case law has defined it as humiliating and abusive treatment that causes the spouse’s life to be miserable and unendurable. In order to successfully allege mental cruelty as a reason for the divorce, the conduct must be unprovoked;
  • Adultery;
  • Impotence;
  • One spouse had previously entered into marriage with another at the time of the marriage in question;
  • One spouse has abandoned or deserted the other for more than one year;
  • Drug addiction or alcohol addiction: A spouse has been addicted to drugs or alcohol for a period of two years;
  • Physical cruelty: The physical cruelty must be extreme and repetitive;
  • Conviction of a felony or infamous crime; and
  • Infecting a spouse with a sexually transmitted disease.

In addition to the above reasons, a spouse can file for divorce when there is no specific reason under the umbrella of “irreconcilable differences.” Filing for divorce for irreconcilable differences basically means that there has been an “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” and that all efforts of reconciling the marriage have failed. In order to allege irreconcilable differences, it is also required that both spouses live separately for at least a two-year period.

Get Help from a Divorce Attorney

If you are contemplating pursuing a divorce in Illinois, contact one of our experienced DuPage County divorce attorneys today. We will carefully review the facts surrounding your case and will advise you on what your best options are to move forward with your divorce.