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France Considering Plan to Expedite Divorce

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The Social Affairs Minister of France is considering a plan whereby couples would not need to appear before a judge to obtain a divorce, the Associated Press reports. Dominique Bertinotti delivered a report to France’s Justice Minister that contained over 200 plans, including the expedited divorce plan. Bertinotti, in support of the plan, cited statistics that say 54 percent of French divorces are uncontested, and that the average hearing time for uncontested cases is eight minutes. Under the new plan, couples seeking an uncontested divorce could appear in front of a clerk of the court, rather than a judge. Said Bertinotti, “one couple in two will divorce. Do we have to make it more difficult?”

Some argue that this measure will weaken the institution of marriage. But while the “one couple in two” statistic may be true in France, it is arguably not in the US. In fact, divorce has been steadily declining since at least 2000.

 Just how easy is it to get divorced now, and should it be made easier? A brief history lesson may help illuminate the state of divorce in Illinois.

Fault vs. No Fault

Most of our law is derived from the English common law, and divorce historically did not exist. England was a Catholic nation, and the Catholic Church does not recognize divorce. Henry VIII changed this by establishing the Church of England (which is present in the US as the Episcopal Church), which allowed for his divorce.

The law in the US tends to leave family law in the hands of the individual states. Therefore, divorce law can be drastically different depending on where you live. However, the majority of the states only allowed for divorce if one of the spouses were at fault for doing something damaging to the marriage or to the other spouse. In Illinois, the grounds were the following:

  • Impotence;
  • Bigamy;
  • Adultery;
  • Desertion for a year;
  • Habitual drunkenness for two years;
  • Drug addiction for two years;
  • Attempted murder of the spouse;
  • Extreme physical or mental cruelty;
  • Felony conviction; or
  • Infection of the spouse with an STD.

These remain grounds for divorce in Illinois, but in 1984, no-fault divorce was added to the statute. In order to get a divorce, the petitioning spouse only has to cite irreconcilable differences, and live separate from the spouse for two years. If the spouses each agree to the divorce, the “living separately” requirement is only six months.

Contact an Illinois Divorce Lawyer

Divorce may be easy to obtain in Illinois, but the process is difficult, time-consuming, and emotionally tiring. An experienced DuPage County family law attorney can help ease you into the process and can settle it as quickly as possible. If you are contemplating divorce in Illinois, contact the Mevorah Law Offices LLC today at 630-932-9100.

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