How to contest a divorce in Illinois?
Most people have heard the expression “it takes two to tango.” This expression suggests that two people are paired in an inextricably related activity, usually with negative connotations.
Divorce falls in this same category. However, not all divorces end badly. In some instances, couples simply grow apart from one another and amicably agree to terminate the relationship, which makes the entire process more tolerable and less expensive for all concerned.
However, a simple termination (uncontested divorce) of the marriage is not always possible because one partner in the marriage might not want a divorce for a variety of reasons. If this occurs, the process is then considered a “contested divorce.”
The issues in contesting a divorce can range from disagreements about alimony payments, child support, visitation rights, or property distribution. If not resolved, these issues can easily turn amicable situations into animosity, easily spilling over into divorce proceedings.
Illinois Divorce Law
The state of Illinois is a “no-fault” divorce state. In 2016, Illinois eliminated all “fault” grounds, such as infidelity and mental cruelty, from its divorce laws. Today the only legal ground for divorce is “irreconcilable differences,” which by legal definition simply means these differences “have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.”
State law also mandates that courts must determine that an effort at reconciliation by both parties has been made and failed, and that any attempts at reconciliation in the future would also not be in the best interest of the family.
Reasons to contest a divorce
In the state of Illinois, a spouse who initially did not file for divorce can still contest the divorce, claiming there are no “irreconcilable differences” within the marriage and filing a petition challenging the divorce.
However, if one of the spouses in the marriage lives apart and resides in a different location for a minimum period of 6 months before the other spouse files the petition, the court acknowledges an “irrefutable presumption” of irreconcilable differences between the pair.
Moreover, during divorce proceedings it is not uncommon for both parties to disagree on substantive marital issues such as:
- Parental responsibilities and childcare
- Child support
- Visitation rights
- Discharging of debts and other liabilities
- Property distribution