What is a “no-fault” divorce?
“No fault” divorce may seem like an odd phrase to give to a legal process that is literally built upon terminating a relationship where the parties no longer want to be affiliated with each other. It would seem that in such circumstances two Illinois residents would feel as though the other is at fault for causing them to want to divorce and to divide up the life they had built together as a married couple. However, a “no fault” divorce does not mean that a divorce is without conflict, but rather that it has arisen due to the unfixable breaking of the couple’s marriage.
Illinois recognizes fault-based grounds for divorce, such as desertion and domestic violence. In situations where one spouse hurts or leaves the other, the victim-spouse may allege that, due to the fault of the other, the marriage must end. However, when such extreme fault factors are not present in a marriage the partners who want to end it need an alternative path to divorce.
It is therefore in marriages where the couples have grown apart but neither spouse has engaged in a monumental act of fault that no fault divorces become relevant. A marriage that is irretrievably broken and that cannot be saved by the parties may qualify for the no fault path so long as the other requirements for an Illinois divorce are met.
Filing for divorce is stressful and brings with it many legal considerations that individuals must confront regarding their property, families and other important issues. It can be helpful for those pursuing fault and no fault divorces to use the services of family law attorneys to protect their interests as they end their marriages.