Divorce, formally known as dissolution of marriage, is the legal process to terminate a marriage. It starts by one party filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and ends upon entry of a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage. The Judgment may be based upon an agreement of the parties or the decision of the Court after a trial. A proper judgment includes provisions for maintenance, children, property, debts, taxes, attorney’s fees and other issues pertinent to the marriage.
At trial, the court must first determine if there are grounds for a divorce. Currently, Illinois only recognizes irreconcilable differences as grounds. This is sometimes referred to as “No Fault Divorce.” Specifically, the court must find that: irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family. It is presumed that the grounds of irreconcilable differences have been met if the parties have lived separate and apart for a continuous period in excess of six months. Living separate and apart does not require separate households, it merely requires that the parties live separate lifestyles. The grounds do not affect any of the remaining issues such as maintenance/alimony, allocation of parent responsibility (child custody), child support, and the allocation of property and debts.