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On January 1, 2016, Senate Bill 57 came into effect, changing the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). The Act covers many aspects of family law, including divorce, child support, and child custody.

Changes to the IMDMA include grounds for divorce for which parties may file as well as changes to the requisite waiting periods petitioners must adhere to in order for courts to grant a divorce. Individuals considering divorce should understand the changes to the law and how it may affect their options moving forward.

No more fault-based divorce in Illinois

The major change to Illinois divorce laws is the elimination of fault-based grounds for divorce. Senate Bill 57 now allows couples to file for divorce only on the grounds of irreconcilable differences where 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.

Before Senate Bill 57, the law required parties to prove irreconcilable differences in order to be granted a no-fault divorce. Parties seeking no-fault divorce would have to demonstrate they lived apart for two-years, unless they waived that requirement and could demonstrate that they lived apart for six months.

Old fault-based grounds for divorce

Prior to Senate Bill 57 taking effect, either party could seek divorce on one of several fault-based grounds. Under new laws, spouses may no longer file for divorce on the grounds the other party:

  • Is naturally impotent;
  • Already had another spouse when he or she entered into union;
  • Committed adultery;
  • Abandoned the marriage for at least one-year;
  • Was habitually drunk or under the influence of narcotics for two years;
  • Attempted to murder the respondent;
  • Was extremely cruel of physically abusive;
  • Was convicted of a felony or other serious crime; or
  • Infected the respondent with an STD.

Changes to waiting periods for divorce in Illinois

Senate Bill 57 no longer requires prolonged periods of separation to seek a dissolution of marriage in Illinois. Couples in uncontested divorces do not have to live separately for any period of time to prove irreconcilable differences. Parties in a divorce where grounds of irreconcilable differences are contested must live apart for at least six months to prove an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage

Naperville divorce attorneys

If you are considering divorce or have received notice of your spouse’s intention to dissolve your marriage, contact the Naperville divorce attorneys of Fay, Farrow & Associates P.C. for a consultation about your case. When divorce appears inevitable, individuals need to protect their financial well-being, claims to property, and perhaps most importantly, the custody of their children.

Let us put our years of dedication and experience to work in your case. Our team of dedicated attorneys are ready to represent you in your divorce with dignity to help you resolve your case and help you and your family move on.

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