Common Misconceptions About Divorce
By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC
Divorce in Chicago and the Chicago area is difficult for all parties, from the spouses themselves to children from the marriage. Yet the prospect of divorce can often be more anxiety-inducing than it needs to be as a result of common misconceptions or myths about the divorce process in Chicago and the surrounding counties. We want to dispel some of those misconceptions and myths for you today.
Myth 1: Chicago area Divorce Courts Will Consider Whether One Spouse Was at Fault for the Divorce
Illinois used to have fault-based grounds for divorce. Now, Illinois is a “no fault” state for divorce purposes. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), the parties only need to show “irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” such that “the court determines that efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.” There is an irrebuttable presumption these requirements are fulfilled when a married couple lives separate and apart for a continuous period of at least six (6) months.
Myth 2: Chicago area Courts Divide Marital Property in a 50/50 Split
Under the IMDMA, courts divide marital property based on a theory known as “equitable distribution”. With equitable distribution, the court aims to divide property in a way that it considers to be fair to both spouses. While there are many cases in which equitable distribution results in a 50/50 split, that is not always the case. Equitable does not mean equal. To divide property equitably, courts look at many different factors including: the length of the marriage, the health of the parties, and the standard of living established during the marriage, and earning power of each spouse, etc..
Myth 3: Divorce Will Ruin Your Finances
While divorce can result in a tighter budget when you transition to a single-income household, many people bounce back quickly after a divorce. This is especially true for people who still have several years of employment ahead of them to rebuild savings and retirement accounts.
Myth 4: Only One Parent Will Get “Custody” of the Children
Illinois courts no longer award custody, but instead, allocate parental responsibilities. Under the IMDMA, courts want to make sure both parents play a significant role in raising their children. Accordingly, the court aims to ensure parents share in significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time – as long as it is in the best interests of the child.
Myth 5: Divorce is Always Contentious
While some divorces are heated and contentious, many are not. Many couples in the Chicago region have what is known as an uncontested divorce in which they reach an agreement on all terms of the divorce, from property division to the allocation of parental responsibilities. Even if spouses cannot immediately reach an agreement about all issues, they can go to divorce mediation and communicate with one another with the help of a neutral third party (a mediator) until they have reached an amicable agreement.
Contact our Divorce Attorneys in Chicago or in the suburbs
Divorce is often the most difficult experience in a person’s life, while also being the best decision in the long run. When you file for divorce, it is important to have an experienced Chicago divorce lawyer representing you. If you need assistance filing for divorce – or with any stage of the divorce process, an advocate at our firm can begin working on your case today. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC to speak with a divorce lawyer at our firm.