Posted on September 9, 2022

Irreconcilable Differences In An Illinois Divorce

In Illinois, there is only one grounds for divorce: irreconcilable differences.

“The court shall enter a judgment of dissolution of marriage [upon] the making of the finding:…Irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and the court determines that efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.” 750 ILCS 5/401

Irreconcilable differences are “persistent and unresolvable disagreements between the spouses” Black’s Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019)

It is very easy to prove irreconcilable differences in an Illinois divorce. During the prove-up hearing which finalizes an Illinois divorce, either party can just testify “there are irreconcilable differences between us.”

“[T]estimony [is] sufficient to establish an irreconcilable difference to support dissolution” In re Marriage of Smoller, 578 NE 2d 256 – Ill: Appellate Court, 1st Dist., 1st Div. 1991

It only takes one spouse to establish irreconcilable differences. “[E]vidence may establish…the existence of [irreconcilable differences] to support the dissolution of a marriage under section 401(a)(2) where even one spouse does not desire to continue to be married to the other.” In re Marriage of Smoller, 578 NE 2d 256 – Ill: Appellate Court, 1st Dist., 1st Div. 1991

“[T]estimony relating [to] the difficulties, disputes and bitterness between the parties [proves] that there are irreconcilable differences between the parties and that the parties no longer wish to live together.” In re Marriage of Bates, 490 NE 2d 1014 – Ill: Appellate Court, 2nd Dist. 1986

That’s it! Just testify that you “tried to to work it out but you couldn’t work it out” and you will have established significant irreconcilable differences to satisfy the Illinois requirement for divorce.

There are not other requirements beyond establishing irreconcilable differences. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Of Marriage Act used to require a 2 year separation period (6 months if by agreement) and a finding of irreconcilable differences. Now, a 6 months separation period creates an automatic finding of irreconcilable differences.

“If the parties live separate and apart for a continuous period of not less than 6 months immediately preceding the entry of the judgment dissolving the marriage, there is an irrebuttable presumption that the requirement of irreconcilable differences has been met.” 750 ILCS 5/401(a-5)

If you would like to learn more about what is required to get an Illinois divorce, contact my Chicago, Illinois family law firm to discuss your matter with an experienced Illinois family law attorney.

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Russell Knight

Russell D. Knight has been practicing family law as a Chicago divorce lawyer since 2006. Russell D. Knight amicably resolves tough cases while remaining a strong advocate for his client’s interests.

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