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Common wisdom states that 50% of all marriages end in divorce, although this isn’t exactly true. While the actual divorce rate is difficult to determine, it is likely somewhere between 40 and 50%. And that is not the only misconception people have about divorce. Since few people plan for divorce, they are often unaware of the legal aspects that come with dissolving their marriage. Here are some other myths that have sprung up around divorce:
Adultery is a factor in property division - Illinois is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning the only reason necessary for divorce is that spouses have “irreconcilable differences.” Whether one spouse cheated on the other has no bearing on how marital property is distributed between the spouses. The one exception to this is if a spouse dissipated marital assets (that is, they spent money or incurred debt) while pursuing an affair, in which case the allocation of assets and debts during divorce may be adjusted to compensate for this dissipation.
The wife will get custody of the kids - In the past, husbands often acted as the breadwinner for their family, with wives staying at home to raise the children. This meant that wives would often retain primary custody of children following divorce. However, times have changed, and in most modern marriages, both parents work and share parental responsibilities. Child custody arrangements will likely reflect parents’ roles during the marriage, with either the mother or father having primary custody, or parents sharing parenting time equally.
A spouse who did not work will receive permanent alimony - Alimony (also known as spousal maintenance) allows a spouse earning a lower income to maintain a similar standard of living that they had prior to their divorce, but it is usually not permanent. Instead, it provides spouses with support until they can find work or complete their education. There are certain guidelines that must be met to be eligible for maintenance, and formulas are used to determine the amount and duration of alimony payments.
One lawyer can represent both spouses - Spouses who wish to settle their differences amicably may decide to work with a single attorney in order to save money. However, an attorney can only legally represent one spouse, and the other spouse will represent themselves. In these cases, the spouse who is not being represented by the attorney should be sure that they understand their rights and are not being taken advantage of.
Long-term unmarried couples have the same rights as spouses - Couples often live together for years without getting married, sharing property and real estate, and raising children together. While couples in a “common law” marriage may have the same relationship as a married couple, Illinois law does not provide them with the same rights to equitable distribution of property as married couples. Unmarried couples should be aware of their rights and the complications that can arise if their relationship ends.
Contact a Hinsdale Divorce Lawyer
Divorce can be a complex legal process, and when you are dissolving your marriage, you need an experienced attorney who can help you understand your rights and advocate for your best interests in court. Contact a DuPage County divorce attorney at 630-920-8855 to schedule a free consultation.