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What's the Difference Between Fault & No-Fault Divorce?

In Illinois, couples seeking a divorce have the option to file for a no-fault divorce, or a fault-based divorce. While both of these options will ultimately lead to a dissolution of the marriage, couples may find that they do not qualify for a no-fault divorce based on the requirements for this process.

For skilled representation from a Cook & Lake County divorce attorney, call (888) 351-2843.

How Does One Qualify for No-Fault Divorce?

No-fault divorces, or those based on “irreconcilable differences,” are typically a bit more straightforward than fault-based divorces, as neither party will need to prove that the behavior of the other spouse caused irreparable harm to the marriage. However, very specific requirements exist which restrict who can file for divorce on no-fault grounds.

In Illinois, you must meet one of the following conditions to qualify for no-fault divorce:

  • Both spouses must have lived separate and apart for at least 2 years, or
  • They have lived separate and apart for at least six months (which does not necessarily mean you have to live in different homes) and have both agreed to waive the two year requirement.

Divorce Based on Fault Grounds

If you and your spouse do not qualify for a no-fault divorce, or if they will not agree to the divorce, you have the option to file for divorce on fault-based grounds. Essentially, this is naming one party as primarily responsible for causing permanent damage to the marriage.

Grounds for fault-based divorce in Illinois include, but are not limited to:

  • Impotence
  • Adultery after the marriage
  • Willful desertion or absentness
  • Substance abuse issues
  • Felony or other criminal conviction
  • Mental or physical abuse

Call Fam Law For Dedicated Counsel

At Wakenight & Associates, P.C., our experienced Illinois divorce lawyers are focused on helping people resolve their family law issues, and move forward with their lives. When you retain our firm to represent you in your divorce case, you can expect an attorney who is constantly prepared, knowledgeable, and focused on getting you the best possible results.

If you’re seeking a divorce in Will, Kankakee, Grundy, or South Cook County, contact our firm today by calling (888) 303-1846.


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