To file for dissolution of marriage (the legal term for “divorce” in Illinois), you must allege the grounds for the divorce. Many people allege “irreconcilable differences” as it is the most vague and benign. Illinois law requires that spouses have been separated for at least 2 years in order to divorce based upon irreconcilable differences. Even though the legal requirement of separation does not necessarily require living apart, many divorcing couples have not been separated for 2 years. If both parties sign a waiver, the 2-year separation requirement may be reduced to a separation of 6 months and the 6 months is from the date of the divorce judgment, not the filing of the divorce. There is a risk that the opposing party may not agree to sign the waiver or may attempt to use it as leverage. Other grounds, such as mental cruelty, do not require a 2-year separation. Thus, when facts support it, an alternate ground is often alleged in petitions for dissolution of marriage. Alternate grounds include mental cruelty, physical cruelty, alcoholism, adultery. Despite the potential advantage of alleging an alternate ground, some parties may decide not to assert fault grounds in their pleadings as it may cause the divorce to be more contentious. Discuss with your attorney whether alleging an alternate ground is the right course of action for you. If you have questions about grounds for divorce, call me — Chicago divorce lawyer Tanya Witt at (312) 948-9884 or email The above blog post does not constitute legal advice. Please discuss your specific rights with an attorney.