Jan 19, 2022

Understanding Irreconcilable Differences (I/D) in Illinois

Understanding Irreconcilable Differences (I/D) in Illinois

Divorce is a process that comes with a lot of complicated legalese, but we feel there’s no need to make divorce any harder than it already is. Keep reading to gain a better understanding of irreconcilable differences (I/D) in Illinois.

What Are “Irreconcilable Differences”?

Despite a complicated-sounding name, “irreconcilable differences” (I/D) is a phrase that means “the marriage has broken and cannot be saved.” This term is essential to understand in Illinois, especially because it’s the only basis for a court-acknowledged divorce.

Proving I/D requires you to show that previous attempts to fix your marriage have failed and that continuing to try would be impractical. While a separation period isn’t necessary to prove your I/D, it acts as irrefutable evidence.

Six-Month Separation Period

If you and your spouse wish to sail cleanly through the court system, a six-month separation period (during which you stay “separate and apart”) is all you need. This is a simple, concrete way to show the court that irreconcilable differences are present and have broken down your marriage.

“Separate and Apart”

When you hear “separation period,” you may assume that it requires one spouse to pack their things and move out. In truth, you can accomplish living “separate and apart” inside the same residence. If you have separate bedrooms and have no meaningful communication but share the family’s financial responsibilities, a court will likely consider this as living “separate and apart.”

On the other hand, moving out doesn’t necessarily constitute living “separate and apart.” If one spouse continually visits the other in their new residence and communicates regularly and meaningfully, the court will probably not see this as a true separation.

Fault and No-Fault

Until 2016, Illinois had grounds for divorce called “fault” and “no-fault” grounds. With a fault divorce, one spouse needed to prove desertion, adultery, physical cruelty, or another “fault.” “No-fault” grounds involve the irreconcilable differences we’ve been talking about. In 2016, Illinois removed fault grounds entirely, meaning that all divorces must originate from “irreconcilable differences.”

This is not to say that desertion, adultery, and physical cruelty are no longer grounds for divorce, but these actions would create irreconcilable differences. For help with a divorce settlement agreement in Illinois or any other legal issues, contact us at Schiller, DuCanto, & Fleck.

Now that you understand irreconcilable differences in Illinois, work with an attorney to bring your divorce case to court.

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