No-Fault Divorce in Chicago


Many people considered it a breakthrough when states began amending their domestic codes to allow for no-fault divorce. Before then, many couples found themselves trapped in unhappy marriages, while others colluded to manufacture fault grounds such as adultery. Now, however, spouses are free to obtain a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences without assigning fault to either party. Nevertheless, even no-fault divorce demands that spouses meet certain requirements. An experienced Chicago divorce attorney from Downs Law Offices can help you understand what you need to prove in a successful no-fault divorce.


In order to receive a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, the petitioning spouse must plead and prove the existence of three requirements. Often in uncontested divorces, the other spouse will simply stipulate that these grounds exist:

  • Separation - The spouses must have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of at least two years. The defendant spouse can waive the full two years of separation in favor of a six-month requirement. Unsuccessful attempts at reconciliation under the guidance of a licensed counselor or mental health professional do not toll or disrupt this period.
  • Irretrievable breakdown - The marriage must be irretrievably broken due to irreconcilable differences between the parties.
  • No prospect of recovery - The parties must have been unable to reconcile, with previous attempts having failed to the point that further efforts would be impractical.


No-fault divorces account for an increasing number of Illinois divorces each year. No-fault divorces have the potential to move more quickly than fault divorces, especially if the parties can agree to issues like property distribution and child custody. However, these issues can still be contentious in no-fault divorces. Litigation may be necessary to settle these issues even if both spouses agree they want a divorce.

For spouses concerned with getting a divorce quickly and easily, agreeing to a no-fault divorce is an excellent and necessary first step but not the only step. Being willing to negotiate the various terms of divorce and obtaining court approval of your marriage settlement agreement are also necessary for a divorce without a trial. Our attorneys are careful to achieve a balance - negotiating in good faith on behalf of our clients while also making it clear we will not advise our clients to settle for less than what is fair. We have helped many clients in Chicago avoid lengthy divorce proceedings while still protecting their rights.

At Downs Law Offices, we listen to you so we can understand your concerns and fears during the divorce process. Our attorneys know how difficult even no-fault divorce can be. We take every measure we can to keep you comfortable and informed, and allow you to move on as quickly as possible.

Guidance and support during difficult times

Call our Chicago office today to learn how Downs Law Offices can help you reduce the stress of divorce. We are available during normal business hours at 312-781-1963 or you can contact us online to schedule an appointment. We offer evening and weekend hours to current and prospective clients by special arrangement and are easily accessible by public transit.