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What Are Irreconcilable Differences in An Illinois Divorce?

Judith Trentman Wilson, Attorney at Law, P.C. Aug. 27, 2020

When an Illinois couple has reached the point in their marital relationship where they believe it is better to part ways, there can be some confusion about the basics of getting a divorce. Although Illinois is a state that allows a divorce due to irreconcilable differences (also known as no-fault), that does not mean that simply asking for a divorce will result in it being granted. There are basic aspects of the law that should be understood beforehand.

Understanding Irreconcilable Differences

The marriage must have suffered an irretrievable breakdown meaning that there is no possibility of salvaging it. When the parties make the claim that the marriage cannot be saved, the court will need to see that an attempt at reconciliation failed and any such attempts in the future would be futile, nor in the best interests of everyone involved. If the spouses have lived separately for a minimum of six months immediately before seeking the divorce, the fundamental requirement that the marriage is irretrievably broken will have been met.

The Court Can Order an Attempt at Reconciliation

Although the parties can say they have no chance of reconciling, the court can decide that there is a possibility that the marriage can be saved. This can be done on its own or after one spouse has requested there be an attempt at reconciliation. If this happens, there can be a conciliation conference. It will include counseling. Any information from the conciliation conference cannot be used if the parties decide to move forward with the divorce. Reports from the conference will not be part of the court record unless the parties agree to it.

Moving Forward with A Divorce May Require Legal Advice

Irreconcilable differences are just one part of a divorce that people should understand as the process moves forward. There are many others including property division, spousal support, allocating parental responsibilities and parenting time. When the decision to divorce has been made, it may be beneficial to be protected by an experienced legal professional. Perhaps the parties are on reasonable terms and can negotiate an acceptable agreement. Or they might be unable to meet in the middle and need to go to court. Regardless, it may be wise to have legal advice from the start. Calling for a consultation is key.