Grounds for divorce are the legally acceptable reasons you can use to file for divorce in a state. Illinois only has one available ground for divorce: the irreconcilable differences of the divorcing couple caused the irretrievable breakdown of their marriage. That would make Illinois a “no-fault” divorce state. You do not have to prove your spouse committed adultery, abuse or abandonment.
The change reflects a modern understanding of marriage and divorce. The need to prove your spouse did something wrong to you or the family can exacerbate conflict and cause pointless disputes.
What do you need to prove?
Before a family court judge will grant a divorce, they must determine by documentation and proof that efforts to reconcile were unsuccessful. You must provide these to the judge. Furthermore, you might also have to establish that any attempt to fix the marriage is impossible and would go against your family’s best interests.
The judge may waive the burden of proof if you and your spouse have lived separately for at least six consecutive months. You do not have to live in separate households, only live separate lives. However, the separation period requirement may not be necessary if you and your spouse agree to the divorce.
When should you prove fault?
While fault is not a required ground for divorce, it could still play a pivotal role in your divorce proceedings. If your spouse had any degree of objective fault in the breakdown of your marriage, you could get leverage in court in matters regarding spousal support and a larger share of the marital property. It could also affect custody decisions.
Proving fault is no longer a legal requirement, but if it could help your case, you may want to explore how it can.