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Pathways to Divorce in Chicago under Illinois Law

Pathways to Divorce in Chicago under Illinois Law

By: M. Scott Gordon

Under Illinois’ marriage dissolution law, there are two possible ways to convince a judge to grant your divorce. If you are considering ending your marriage, you must either show that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences (“no-fault”), or that one of the grounds of divorce applies in your situation.

Historically, divorces in Chicago and Illinois were only granted if one spouse acted in a way that was considered “grounds” for divorce. Now, irreconcilable differences are a common reason for marriages to end, but some divorces are still based on the traditional grounds. Types of behavior that could precipitate a divorce for fault are laid out in Illinois law.

Divorce will be granted on the basis of physical cruelty, as long as the petitioning spouse can show that they endured extreme and repeated episodes of physical cruelty. Generally, this is designed to cover any act of violence that results in pain and physical harm. Along the same lines, mental cruelty is viewed by the court more in terms of the effect of a harmful action than in terms of the action itself. Mental cruelty involves a pattern of abusive and humiliating treatment that is meant to inconvenience, make miserable, or torture the other spouse. To be considered mental cruelty, the abuse must have occurred more than once, and a judge will not consider it mental cruelty if they believe that the abused spouse provoked the cruelty from the other spouse. The effect of the cruelty is factored in strongly, and an impact on the physical or mental health of the abused spouse must be shown.

Aside from the cruelty-based grounds of divorce, several other unsavory acts are set out in the law. Drug addiction or drug or alcohol abuse can be cause to sever a marriage, and it must be demonstrated to a judge that the other spouse’s addiction continued for at least two years.

Willful desertion or abandonment is a valid reason for a divorce, as long as a year has passed since the other spouse left. If your spouse is convicted of a felony, this will give you the right to divorce them, regardless of the nature of the felony. Adultery is another ground for divorce. Finally, infecting a spouse with a sexually transmitted disease is a valid reason for a divorce.

If you are facing any of these very difficult situations, having a family lawyer in Chicago standing beside you to advocate for your interests can make a world of difference. Attorney M. Scott Gordon can support you through this painful period in your life, and will fight for you in divorce proceedings.

A Dedicated Divorce Lawyer Can Help

If you are considering a divorce, whether it is due to irreconcilable differences or one of the grounds of divorce laid out here, you owe it to yourself to enlist the help of experienced counsel. Contact M. Scott Gordon & Associates today to speak with a dedicated Chicago-area divorce lawyer who will support and guide you through every step of the process.