Separation Period to be Considered Proof of Irreconcilable Differences

divorce, separation, Illinois divorce attorneyWhen the current laws regarding divorce in Illinois were drafted, the focus seemed to be on making sure that a couple was certain about their decision to end the marriage. Even a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences required a period of at least six months during which the spouses lived separate and apart before a divorce would be granted—and that was assuming both parties agreed to the divorce. As time has gone on, however, cultural views regarding marriage and divorce have begun to change significantly and, this past summer, amendments to the state’s divorce laws were passed that bring the statutes more in line with the needs of modern families.

Required Separations

Among the major changes to the existing divorce law approved by the Illinois legislature and signed by the Governor this year is the elimination of the mandatory separation period. Under the existing law, a person filing for divorce could be forced to wait up to two years if his or her spouse will not agree to the dissolution sooner. In the most amicable, uncontested situations, the required period of separation can be no less than six months.

While the intent of the law was, presumably, to ensure that the couple had afforded themselves every opportunity for reconciliation, its effect was often considerable negative. A person in the midst of the separation period was essentially left in a state of limbo, unable to truly move forward as a single person, but not enjoying the benefits of marriage either. In many cases, parties to the divorce were limited to watching the calendar and waiting to begin their new lives.

Irrebuttable Presumption

Beginning in 2016, the new law will take effect and a separation period is no longer required by law. If the spouses are in agreement regarding the divorce, it can proceed immediately—depending, of course, on the schedule of the court. If the parties are not in agreement, a separation of six months or more will create for the court an irrebuttable presumption that “irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage,” and the divorce judgment may be entered. The intention of the new provision is to allow both parties to focus on building a post-divorce future rather than simply waiting around for something to happen.

Hardworking Legal Counsel in Illinois

If you are considering divorce, it is important that you have all of the necessary information before making such a life-changing decision. Contact an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney today and get the answers you need to whatever questions you may have. Call 847-253-3100 to schedule your free initial consultation at the Cosley Law Office and put our knowledge and skill to work for you.



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