Abraham Lincoln, perhaps the most famous man to ever come from Illinois said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” If you are looking to create a future free of your spouse, read this article on Illinois divorce laws.
Divorce laws in Illinois – Adultery
Many people that suffer through adultery in their relationship want to run to court and bash their cheating spouse. This used to be the only way to get a divorce. You had to prove that your spouse committed some “fault.” Illinois divorce laws actually do not recognize adultery as grounds for divorce anymore, though. In fact, Illinois has eliminated all fault grounds for divorce. Marital misconduct cannot even be a factor in property division.
State of Illinois divorce laws only recognize no-fault divorces. This requires a couple to show that “irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage…” What that really means is that at least one spouse wants out of the marriage. Courts technically have to decide if irreconcilable differences exist, but in modern times judges rarely (if ever) order a couple to stay married against their will.
Divorce laws in Illinois about property
A judge granting a divorce in Illinois will provide for the “disposition of property and debts.” What that means is that the court will add up all the couple’s marital property and then split it. This includes everything the couple earned during the marriage, except for some things like gifts or earnings from after entering a valid separation agreement.
As a practical matter, most couples will make an agreement splitting their property and it will usually be about even. The fights tend to be over how much a certain asset is worth. If the wife keeps the house, for example, the husband may fight over how much cash he should be paid to account for his fair share of the equity.
If the judge has to decide, then he or she has a lot of discretion on how much property each spouse should get. The share has to be “equitable,” meaning fair to both sides. Factors the court should consider include each spouse’s contribution to the earnings, as well as their age, health, and future earning capacity.
Illinois divorce laws – Maintenance
According to Illinois divorce laws, courts can choose to order spousal maintenance, which is often called alimony or spousal support. Again, the judge has nearly complete discretion on this issue. One spouse, usually the one with more money or a higher income, will be ordered to make ongoing payments to the other. The idea is kind of old fashioned, as it stems from the idea that a man should have to take care of his ex-wife until she remarries. For that reason it is becoming more rare, but it can be an important part of a divorce proceeding, especially where one spouse may fall on financial hard times.
New divorce laws in Illinois
Divorce laws are seemingly always changing. In Illinois, the state legislature took a step in 2017 towards treating pets more like children. It was only the second law of its type (following Alaska). Basically, judges now consider the best interest of the pet just like they would a child when deciding who should have possession after the divorce.