Part of any attorney’s job is educating his or her client about the law. When clients first retain an attorney for any legal matter, they often have misconceptions about the court system and legal process. If a lawyer allows his or her client to hold onto these misconceptions and does not correct them, the client may end up feeling frustrated and may lose confidence in his or her attorney. Divorce and family law are no different. Many clients who retain an attorney have had a friend or family member who experienced a divorce and who shared with the client stories about the process. This, in turn, results in clients who have false beliefs and expectations about the divorce process. The following includes some of the most common misconceptions about divorce in Illinois:
“We’ll split everything 50/50.” Clients mistakenly believe that all of the property they own with their ex-spouse at the time of the divorce is split evenly between them. The truth, however, is more nuanced. Property division requires a court to identify “marital assets” – those possessions and things the spouses acquired during the course of the marriage – and then divide those marital assets in a fair and equitable manner. In general, property acquired before the marriage or after the divorce is filed is not considered marital property but instead belongs to the person who acquired it.
“The Court is Going to Assume the Mother (or Father) is the Better Parent, So Why Fight for Primary Placement?” While courts may have had the opinion that one parent was most often better than the other parent, courts are no longer permitted to “presume” the child should go with the mother or father just because he or she is the child’s mother or father. Instead, courts will look at the entire situation and determine which primary placement – mother or father – is in the child’s best interests. The parties can also agree as to which parent should receive primary placement of the child.
“My Ex-spouse and I Get Along Fine So We Don’t Need an Attorney – Our Case Will Be Over Quickly.” Divorce tends to bring out the worst in some people. Your ex-spouse may have appeared to be very calm and agreeable when you first filed for divorce. This can and often does change, resulting in proceedings that drag out longer than anticipated and difficult questions and situations that must be addressed. It is often better to have an attorney represent you in a divorce from the beginning – even if you believe the divorce will be finalized quickly – than to wait and attempt to bring an attorney into the middle of the divorce proceedings.
The dedicated Dupage County family law attorneys at our firm are here to help you with your divorce regardless of the amount of assets you own or how agreeable your ex-spouse might be. We fight to protect your legal rights and educate you about the divorce process along the way.