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Irreconcilable differences to be the only grounds for divorce

Illinois divorce law has not seen a major revamping since 1977. Marriage and divorce practices all over the nation are changing, and many thought Illinois was long overdue for one. As part of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, Illinois is abolishing all the old grounds for divorce but one: irreconcilable difference. As the News Gazette reports, irreconcilable differences will be the only acceptable grounds for divorce.

Beginning January 2016, the burden of proving fault in divorce court will no longer exist. From that point on, irreconcilable difference will be the only grounds for which a divorce can be granted. The current, and very out-of-date divorce law, now states that there must be proof of grounds for a divorce. Divorcing couples can choose from a list of 10 different reasons they want to get divorced. After the first of the year, all but one shall remain.

After the overhaul takes effect, a judge will only need to determine two things for the divorce to progress: that irreconcilable difference has made the marriage irretrievably broken, and that past efforts to fix the marriage have failed. If the couple have lived apart for a period of six months or longer before petitioning for divorce, then the condition of irreconcilable differences exist.

The previous requirement of a waiver in writing from both spouses citing irreconcilable differences will also change. Under the new law, the only requirement for the divorce to proceed will be a six month period of separation.

While the new revamping of the Illinois divorce law may do away with 'grounds' and the written waiver, there are many other changes that could be confusing for individuals looking to petition on their own. There are changes being made to the definition of custody and visitation, as well as the parenting plan requirement. Even with this new overhaul, family law issues are complex and should receive the help and attention of a trained attorney.

Source: The News Gazette, "John Roska: Divorce law changing in Illinois," John Roska, Nov. 29, 2015

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