Illinois is commonly categorized as a “no-fault divorce” state. But, you still need to prove that grounds exist for you to obtain a divorce decree. This page discusses what those grounds are and what you need to prove to show that those grounds for divorce exist in your case.
The no-fault divorce grounds for divorce in Illinois is called “irreconcilable differences.”
To obtain a divorce based upon irreconcilable differences, you must prove that (1) you and your spouse have lived separate and apart for a period in excess of 2 years, (2) irreconcilable differences have cause the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage, (3) past efforts at reconciliation have failed, and (4) future efforts at reconciliation would be impractical and not in the best interests of the family. See 750 ILCS 5/401(a)(2).
If you can get your spouse to agree, the 2 year period for living separate and apart is shortened to 6 months.
Irreconcilable differences is often treated as an afterthought by Illinois attorneys and divorce petitioners–after all, if you do not want to remain married to your spouse, who would stop you?–but if your spouse does not want the divorce, he or she can contest the grounds and potentially thwart your divorce case.
There are also fault-based grounds for divorce.
Illinois provides a long list of grounds for divorce:
That, without cause or provocation by the petitioner: the respondent was at the time of such marriage, and continues to be naturally impotent; the respondent had a wife or husband living at the time of the marriage; the respondent had committed adultery subsequent to the marriage; the respondent has wilfully deserted or absented himself or herself from the petitioner for the space of one year, including any period during which litigation may have pended between the spouses for dissolution of marriage or legal separation; the respondent has been guilty of habitual drunkenness for the space of 2 years; the respondent has been guilty of gross and confirmed habits caused by the excessive use of addictive drugs for the space of 2 years, or has attempted the life of the other by poison or other means showing malice, or has been guilty of extreme and repeated physical or mental cruelty, or has been convicted of a felony or other infamous crime; or the respondent has infected the other with a sexually transmitted disease. “Excessive use of addictive drugs”, as used in this Section, refers to use of an addictive drug by a person when using the drug becomes a controlling or a dominant purpose of his life;
750 ILCS 5/401(a)(1). Mental cruelty, physical cruelty, adultery, drug addiction, drunkenness, and conviction of a felony are the most commonly asserted grounds for divorce. The other grounds for divorce are either uncommon (spousal abandonment) or are too embarrassing to allege (that your spouse gave you an STD). Grounds-based divorces are liberally granted, but you still have to prove your grounds.