The Difference Between Fault and No-Fault Divorce

Many people who are going through the process of divorce wonder what the requirements are for filing for a divorce. Individuals may wonder if one member of the marriage must have done something wrong before a divorce will be issued.

When it comes to divorces in Illinois, there are two types of grounds for divorce: non-fault and fault. No-fault grounds refer to something you may better know as irreconcilable differences. When this is the grounds for divorce, either spouse may file, no matter who was “at fault” for the impending divorce.

A fault divorce, on the other hand, involves a spouse who is requesting a divorce based on some fault by the other spouse. When it comes to fault of divorce, there are ten grounds that are listed in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. They include the following:

  • Bigamy
  • Adultery
  • Impotency
  • Mental Cruelty
  • Physical Cruelty
  • Alienation of Affection
  • Conviction of a Felony
  • Drug Addiction (lasting at least two years)
  • Attempted Poisoning (or other means showing malice)
  • Infection with a Sexually Transmitted Disease

With no-fault divorce, there is no requirement to prove your spouse is at fault. You will need to show that irreconcilable differences led to the breakdown of the marriage, that past efforts to keep the marriage have failed, and the best interest of the family is divorce. The spouses must also have been living apart for at least two years. Your Northbrook divorce attorney can help you understand these options a bit more.

When it comes to living apart, this isn’t as cut and dry as you might think. If a pair of spouses live in the same home but no longer live as husband and wife, that may be considered living alone. There is also an exception to the two-year requirement provided both spouses will sign a document that they have lived apart and separate for at least six months.

Mental cruelty is the most common reason for filing for divorce and can be anything from regular arguing up to more substantial issues. Filing on these grounds may seem extreme but can be an option if you don’t qualify based on the separation requirement for a no-fault marriage. Fault grounds allow you a divorce, but have no effect on child custody and other important things.

Understanding no-fault and fault grounds is important when starting the divorce process, but there is much more to know. You can contact Michael C. Craven at Divorce Lawyers Chicago to learn more about your options. He is an experienced Northbrook divorce attorney who would be happy to help.

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