As you may know, if you plan to file for divorce in Chicago, Illinois divorce law operates entirely on a no-fault basis. Accordingly, the party who has plans to file for divorce will not allege fault-based grounds for seeking a divorce, but rather will state the no-fault grounds under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). In short, a party who files a petition for the dissolution of marriage must state that irreconcilable differences exist and the marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown. The court will presume that this requirement has been met when the parties have been living separate and apart for a period of at least six months, with no attempts at reconciliation during this period. Yet the IMDMA also makes clear that the court must determine that no attempts at reconciling will ever be successful.
Recognizing that the court needs to reach this determination, you might be wondering: What will happen if the court believes that reconciliation is still possible? For anyone who is eager to have their divorce case finalized, this can be an anxiety-inducing prospect. We want to tell you more about the issue of “conciliation” and how it could come into play in a Chicago divorce.
If the court believes it is possible for the spouses to reconcile, or if one of the parties requests a conciliation conference, then the court can order a conciliation conference. What is a conciliation conference? It is a meeting of the parties at an official location that is designed to give the parties an opportunity to try to save their marriage. However, even if the spouse who filed for divorce believes firmly that there is no chance to save the marriage, that spouse may still have to participate in the conference.
Just because a court orders a conciliation conference does not mean that the party who has filed a petition for the dissolution of marriage will be denied a divorce.
Many spouses file for divorce because of a history of domestic or family violence. In a number of these cases, the spouse who is accused of domestic violence does not want the divorce process to move forward and might contest the divorce case and request a conciliation conference. Given that lawyers are not typically present at conciliation conferences, courts recognize that ordering a conciliation conference in a situation involving domestic violence allegations could be extremely problematic and damaging for the party seeking the divorce. The IMDMA makes clear that the court can rule out conciliation and prohibit the parties from meeting in person when necessary.
Do you have questions about meeting the “irreconcilable differences” requirement or whether a conciliation conference could be ordered in your case? A divorce lawyer in Chicago can help. Contact the Arami Law Office today for more information.
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