At Masters Law Group, we proudly honor the trailblazing women within our family law firm and across all fields in every industry. As family law attorneys, we have firsthand experience with the complexities of divorce and helping women through this challenging time.
Every year on March 8th, we celebrate International Women’s Day, recognizing the achievements and resilience of women everywhere. Being a female going through a divorce can be an isolating and overwhelming experience. If you’re a woman feeling unhappy in your marriage, you’ve likely considered initiating divorce. However, determining whether it’s the right choice for you, your children, and your spouse can be daunting. That’s why seeking personalized divorce advice is crucial for making well-informed choices.
Leaving a marriage is a woman’s toughest decision, often presenting unique challenges. There are important factors to consider upfront and inevitable hurdles along the way. Here are some practical tips to help protect yourself during the divorce or separation process.
Why Women Initiate Divorce
In the United States, women often initiate divorce more frequently than men. This trend has grown as women now have more job opportunities and higher independent incomes, which reduces the financial risks associated with divorce compared to the past. Here are some notable statistics:
- Of the almost 700,000 divorces in the United States each year, 70% of them are initiated by women.
- Almost a third (29.3%) of single-working mothers are divorced.
- 64% of women file for divorce due to unmet needs and increasing marital dissatisfaction.
The divorce process has also become more accessible, especially with the legalization of no-fault divorces in certain states. Illinois is one of the states that follows a no-fault divorce model. This means couples can dissolve their marriage without having to prove fault or wrongdoing by either party. This can simplify the process, offering a straightforward route from an unsustainable marriage.
Preparing Yourself Emotionally
When you initiate the discussion of divorce with your spouse, and especially when you take the definitive step to file, you’re entering a realm with no clear path back.
At the core of any amicable divorce lies open and sincere communication. If possible, both partners must come together to express their feelings, concerns, and expectations. This fosters trust and clarity, reducing misunderstandings and unnecessary conflicts.
If conversations become difficult or communication proves challenging, consider involving a mediator, therapist, and divorce attorney. These professionals offer guidance and a neutral space for productive discussions, aiding both parties in reaching fair and mutually agreeable resolutions.
Remember, if you are initiating divorce due to dangerous behavior, such as physical and emotional abuse, drug addiction or other factors, you can seek an Order of Protection. Let’s explore this more.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is described as abusive behavior when a family or household member uses physical or mental maltreatment toward another family or household member. The IDVA uses the following terms as abuse:
1. Physical abuse
3. Intimidation of a dependent
4. Interference with personal liberty
5. Willful deprivation
What is an Order of Protection?
An Order of Protection is a court order made in writing which prohibits, by law, further abusive behavior.
Who are persons considered to be family or household members?
The IDVA defines members to include:
1. A spouse
3. Girlfriend/boyfriend who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship
7. Significant other/partner
8. Persons who share or allege to have a blood relationship through a child
9. Persons who live together or formerly lived together
10. Persons with disabilities and their personal assistants
Need an Order of Protection in Illinois? Contact us to help you file in Illinois Civil court.
Prioritizing The Well-Being Of Your Children
If you don’t have the safety of yourself and/or family to worry about, if you have children, their well-being should be your top priority. If possible, maintain a united front when it comes to co-parenting decisions. Create a comprehensive parenting plan that outlines responsibilities, schedules, and guidelines. Keep children out of adult conflicts and reassure them of your love and support.
Whether it’s parenting time, asset division, or spousal support, your DuPage divorce attorney will help that your voice is heard and that the court’s decision is fair and aligned with your best interests. Furthermore, during court proceedings, your DuPage or Chicagoland divorce attorney can address unexpected challenges and legal objections and help ensure that all legal procedures are followed diligently.
Their presence in court assures you that you have a dedicated legal professional fighting on your behalf, helping you navigate the complexities of the judicial process during an emotionally challenging time.
Consider Options for Equitable Distribution
As couples navigate the challenging path of divorce, alimony, and asset division are critical aspects that demand attention. Unfortunately, Illinois is not a 50/50 state for divorce. This means that the court weighs several factors to determine how to fairly divide property rather than dividing property 50/50. Illinois follows a more intricate approach called “equitable distribution.” Here’s how it works:
- Contribution to the Marriage: The court looks at what each spouse brought to the marriage regarding money and non-money contributions like caring for the home or children.
- Duration of the Marriage: How long the marriage lasted matters, as it can affect how assets are divided.
- Economic Circumstances: Each spouse’s financial situation, including income and needs, is considered.
- Non-Marital Property: Things owned before marriage or received as gifts or inheritance during marriage may not be split.
- Custodial Arrangements: If there are kids, the court looks at custody and how it impacts finances.
- Spousal Support (Alimony): Whether one spouse needs support payments is factored in.
- Tax Consequences: Taxes resulting from asset division are also considered to make things fair.
- Wasteful Dissipation: If one spouse recklessly spends or wastes money, it can affect the division.
- Future Needs: The court considers what each person will need, especially if one is in a tougher spot after the divorce.
- Agreements: Any agreements made before or during the marriage, like prenups, are considered if they meet legal standards.
Remember, “equitable distribution” doesn’t always mean a perfect 50/50 split. It’s about creating a fair and just arrangement based on each family’s unique situation. This process can be tricky, so it’s a good idea to work with a skilled family law attorney to help ensure your rights are protected during asset division in Illinois.
Consider Divorce Mediation
Mediation offers an alternative dispute resolution method where a neutral mediator facilitates settlement discussions between you and your spouse, aiming to reach a final agreement. Unlike judges, mediators lack the authority to decide on behalf of either party. Instead, they focus on needs and interests rather than faults and rights.
In divorce mediation, couples either choose a mediator or one is appointed by the court, with costs typically split between both parties. Both spouses present supporting documentation for disputed issues, and the mediator works with both sides to find a resolution. The ultimate goal is reaching a mutually acceptable agreement.
Even with disagreements, divorce doesn’t have to escalate into a conflict. Mediation can provide a constructive path for addressing issues like allocating parental responsibilities and alimony, serving as an alternative to formal litigation in divorce court.
While many questions and valid concerns come with divorce, the divorce process does not have to be difficult, and you don’t have to go alone. If you’re a woman considering filing for divorce, our experienced DuPage Divorce attorneys are available to address any inquiries you may have along the way.
Learn more about the experienced and talented females at our Family Law Firm
Erin E. Masters is the principal of Masters Law Group, located in Chicago, Illinois. The firm handles family law matters in Cook County and surrounding counties. Masters Law Group concentrates in area of domestic relations, which includes divorce, allocation of parental responsibilities, child support and Hague Convention/ international child abduction matters.
Hailey McGillivray is a dedicated and meticulous attorney, currently admitted to the Illinois State Bar. She holds an American and Canadian Juris Doctor from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and the University of Windsor Faculty of Law.
Sarah, a distinguished alumna of Loyola University Chicago School of Law, joins Masters Law Group carrying a commendable academic and professional background. Graduating with a Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, and a notable GPA of 3.69, Sarah has proven her academic prowess through multiple honors, including being a consistent Dean’s List awardee and earning prestigious scholarships for her dedication to public interest law.