Divorce Is Where the Guilty Go Free

A major obstacle to settlement occurs when one of the parties feels wronged or angry. They are the “victim,” and they want the court to know it. These spouses don’t care if the case takes a long time; they just want the judge to know how bad their partner is. They count on the judge sharing their outrage and making the other party suffer, but this is just wishful thinking on their part. This behavior doesn’t help them in court. All it does is make it harder for the other party to get them to settle. This costs everyone more money and frustration.

The worst place in the world to seek revenge is in the legal system.

Trying to get revenge costs too much, takes too long, and usually hurts us just as much as it hurts the person we want to hurt. It is like stabbing ourselves through the stomach with a sword in order to inflict pain on the guy standing in line behind us.

Most aggrieved partners do not take kindly to the fact that the court cannot consider misconduct as a factor in determining monetary or property awards. The judge is not going to declare who the victim is, and then torture the wrongdoer spouse in the town square for all the neighbors to see. 

It is asking a lot to expect an early settlement if one of the parties persists in entertaining unrealistic, though perhaps understandable, expectations about what the legal system will actually do for them. It’s much too easy to be misled by Hollywood and a generation or two of TV lawyer shows that depict justice as being instantaneous and sure – you know, where the bad guy always gets what’s coming to him and the good guy gets to walk off into the sunset, ready to do it all again next week. Real life doesn’t work like this.

The judge cannot compensate you for your spouse’s bad behavior. Most people entering divorce proceedings want their day in court because they want the judge to mete out the justice that their spouse has long withheld. You deserve it, right? Right. And yet our court system is not designed to give it to you!


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Kari and Richard are staunch advocates of the non-court approach to divorce, and are also active and seasoned litigators with over 80 years of combined trial experience in the Illinois divorce courts of Cook and DuPage counties.