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11 Key Questions Most People Ask

Divorce Myths and Misconceptions

House KeyDivorce is a popular topic that is widely discussed and information concerning divorce and the legal system are rarely as accurate as legend would have us believe. What we hear is often incorrect by the time it gets to us, sometimes we do not hear it correctly, and sometimes we do not repeat it accurately.

As information flows through hundreds of conversations, it can easily become diluted or distorted and turn into misinformation (also known as myth or misconception). Misinformation leads us to having incorrect beliefs, which, in turn, set us up to making avoidable mistakes and incorrect choices.

Divorce has more than its share of myths and misconceptions. This page aims to set the record straight on some the most common of these.

Divorce FAQ’s

FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions. These are the questions that divorcing parties ask the most. Since many stem from and intertwine with myth, we have combined our discussions of both.

Here is the real scoop on these everyday items:

Do We Have To Be Separated Six Months Before We Can File?

No. You can file even if you haven’t been separated for one minute. Illinois law does not require you to be separated before you can file for divorce. This is true no matter which of the eleven grounds is used.

Does Adultery Affect Who Gets Custody?

No. These are separate issues with no legal connection. If a person is unfaithful and treats his or her spouse poorly, it does not mean that he or she treats the children poorly. To suggest otherwise, would be to say that someone who is a good parent could never be guilty of cheating. Again, there is no automatic connection between being unfaithful and being able to parent one’s children properly.

My Spouse is Telling Me To Move Out. Do I Have To?

No. You do not have to move out. Unless and until your spouse gets a court order granting him or her exclusive possession of the home, you have the same marital right to live in the house as they do. This is true even when title to the house is in your spouse’s name only.

If I Do Move Out, Is It Considered Abandonment?

No. This is the mother of all myths. You do not lose any of your rightful percentage of the equity in the home if you choose to reside elsewhere.

Can I Date Before The Divorce is Final?

From a strictly legal standpoint, the answer is yes. The court cannot consider this fact when determining money and property issues. However, dating can harm the case from a negotiation standpoint. It is likely to reduce the chances of a smooth or early settlement because it typically brings added pain, hurt, or anger to the other party. It is wise to avoid any conduct that might cause complications. Any sums … [Read more…]

At What Age Can The Kids Choose Who They Want To Live With?

The court will not consider the children’s wishes until they are age 14 or older. However, the judge is not required to follow their preferences. What a child wants is only one of several criteria the court must consider. Deciding custody is not a popularity contest and judges are aware that children in this age category are often prone to favor the parent that disciplines them the least.

If I Want an Annulment, How Short Does The Marriage Have To Be?

The length of the marriage does not determine if you qualify to get an annulment, now known as Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage. Marriages are not annuled (or invalidated) because the parties have been married for a short time and wish they weren’t or if they feel they made a mistake. The court grants “Annulments” only when it determines that a party did not have the capacity to consent … [Read more…]

Does Child Support Include Day Care, Extracurricular, or Activity Expenses?

No. These expenses are not included in child support payments. Any contributions toward these costs (e.g., school incidentals, hockey, soccer, karate lessons, music lessons, tutors, etc.) are in addition to child support.

Are Overtime, Bonuses, and Commissions Included in Calculating Child Support?

Answer: Yes. Child support is based on the obligor’s net income from ALL sources. This includes, but is not limited to, interest earned on savings accounts.

What Happens To My Health Insurance?

If you or your spouse is covered under the other’s health insurance coverage, it will terminate upon entry of your divorce. This is required by the terms of the policy and is not pursuant to divorce law. You may obtain an extension of the coverage under COBRA (federal law) for up to 36 months, but it involves paying another premium, which is typically quite costly. Couples often negotiate who will be responsible … [Read more…]

If We Reach a Settlement, Do We Still Have To Go To Court?

Yes. The party that files for the divorce must be present in court. He or she must testify and offer proof of certain vital facts that are required by the Illinois Divorce Act. These include proof of the spouses’ identities and residency, the date and place of the marriage, the names and ages of all children born or adopted, the terms of the parties’ settlement agreement, the grounds for the divorce, and other … [Read more…]

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Richard and Kari are staunch advocates of the non-court approach to divorce, and are also active and seasoned litigators with over 60 years of combined trial experience in the Illinois divorce courts of Cook, DuPage, and Will counties.


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