To get divorced, you must first have ‘grounds’ for divorce. Saying you have “grounds for divorce” simply means you have a legally recognized reason to get divorced. “Irreconcilable Differences” is one such reason. Other grounds for divorce vary from state to state. Normally those grounds include things like adultery, abandonment, mental cruelty, and more.
The grounds for divorce that will be available to you will depend on the state you live in. Illinois used to have many different grounds for divorce. As of January 1, 2016, only one ground for divorce remains in the state of Illinois: irreconcilable differences. What that means is that in Illinois, the only way to get divorced is based upon irreconcilable differences.
What Does Irreconcilable Differences Mean?
In divorce, the term “irreconcilable differences” basically means that you and your spouse don’t get along. It doesn’t have a lot of special requirements. To get divorced based upon irreconcilable differences you don’t have to prove that your marriage is a disaster. All you have to prove is that your marriage is broken and you believe it can not be fixed. That’s it.
What happens if you think your marriage has irreconcilable differences, but your spouse disagrees? The truth, for better or worse, is that you don’t have to agree. As long as either you OR your spouse believes that your differences are “irreconcilable,” your marriage can be dissolved.
Don’t We Have to Be Living Separately to Get Divorced?
Depending upon the state you live in, you may have to live separate and apart from your spouse for a specified period of time before you can get divorced. That amount of time can range from a few weeks to several years.
In some states, living “separate and apart” also requires you to live in separate houses. In other states, you can live separately in the same house. You just can’t live together “as man and wife.”
Check with a divorce attorney in your state to find your state’s separation requirements.
Illinois law used to require that you and your spouse had to live separate and apart for two years before you could get divorced based upon irreconcilable differences. Now, however, that requirement has changed.
In Illinois now, you can get divorced based upon irreconcilable differences at any time, so long as you and your spouse agree. If you and your spouse are both on board with your divorce, you don’t have to wait two years. You don’t even have to wait six months. If you and your spouse agree that you have irreconcilable differences, you can get divorced anytime.
If you don’t agree, then you need to live separate and apart for a period of six months. After six months, the court will presume you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences.
Each state has its own list of grounds for divorce. Those lists usually include things such as adultery, bigamy, excessive drug or alcohol abuse, mental or physical cruelty, and desertion. Each ground for divorce has certain requirements. You must satisfy the requirements in order to obtain a divorce based upon that “ground.”
Some grounds require you to be separated from your spouse for a particular period of time. Other grounds for divorce have no separation requirement.
Each state may also have different rules for what you have to prove to qualify for a divorce. Before you file for divorce, it is important that you know the laws of your state so that you can file for divorce using one of the grounds for divorce that your state recognizes.
Finally, some states, like Illinois, now only have one ground for divorce: irreconcilable differences. That means that, no matter what happened during the marriage, you can only get divorced based upon irreconcilable differences.