Common Misconceptions About Divorce

A wooden gavel.

The concept of divorce is understood through many lenses: popular culture, anecdotes from friends and family, rumors that may or may not be true. It’s no surprise that certain misconceptions surrounding divorce persist in the imaginations of people who are wondering what divorce – or marriage – might mean for them. Laws are complex. They can change over time, vary from state to state, and be difficult to interpret as applied to a specific set of circumstances.

Here’s the lowdown on a just a few of the many misunderstandings about divorce.

Most Marriages Don’t End in Divorce, Particularly in Illinois

Divorce rates in the United States have been going down for years. Now hovering at around 40 percent, the divorce rate for first marriages is fairly high but still lower than it was 20 years ago. One reason for the misconception could be that a higher figure applies when second and third marriages are included. That’s right. The chance of a marriage ending goes up with experience, despite couples having already been married in the past.

There are different ways to hash out the numbers. One of them is to look at how many couples got married in a given year – and how many called it quits. In 2018, 16.6 out of every 1,000 women got married, and 7.7 of 1,000 got divorced. Meanwhile, Illinois has one of the lowest divorce rates in the nation. But that’s in part due to a lower overall marriage rate compared with other states.

Many Countries Have a Higher Divorce Rate Than the U.S.

If you have the impression that the U.S. has a more permissive culture when it comes to divorce than just about anywhere else, you’re only partly right. Would you believe that in 2020 we ranked number 13 on the list of global divorce rates (or number 10, as the U.S. was apparently tied with Denmark and a few other places)? Countries that beat us in this regard include Cuba, Belgium, China and Russia. This is a relatively recent development; the change in ranking is also due to the growth in divorces in other parts of the world.

Divorcing Couples Do Sometimes Get Along

The vast majority of couples manage to avoid courtroom drama in their divorces. That fact is in part thanks to their efforts to get along, and a growing willingness on both sides to get the support they need. Many causes can lead a marriage to fizzle – money, lifestyle differences, or simply marrying too young. These factors don’t necessarily mean the spouses don’t get along. Some even discover after dissolving their marriage that they are better friends as, well, friends.

Your Spouse Doesn’t Need to Agree to the Divorce (Thank Your No-Fault State)

Contrary to popular myth (and actual history), your spouse generally can’t block your divorce from going through. In the past, when couples were required to provide a reason for their divorce, one party had more opportunity to dispute the allegation the other party was making. Times have changed, and the advent of no-fault divorces in states like Illinois has only sped up the process.

If your spouse isn’t cooperating with your request, you can still go forward with your petition. Under Illinois’ no-fault law, “irreconcilable differences” are the only accepted grounds for divorce. Even if one spouse does not want to divorce, if the other spouse can prove that they have lived apart for at least six months, the divorce can proceed.

Your Lawyer Doesn’t Dictate Every Detail – But Works with You as a Partner

An experienced lawyer will partner with you to minimize the stress you may face when dealing with various matters:

  • Asset discovery and division (including debt);
  • Spousal support;
  • Child support;
  • Parental rights and responsibilities; and
  • Other financial issues.

If you’ve never worked with a family law attorney, you might have concerns about the impact this partnership could have on your life. Some people want their lawyer to guarantee a specific result; others worry the lawyer will call all the shots. Your lawyer should be seen as a partner who will help you understand how the law applies to your situation. They will walk you through the complexities and paperwork while helping ensure your needs (and the best interests of any minor children) are met.

At the Law Office of David A. King, P.C. we represent clients in Oak Brook, DuPage County, and across the surrounding areas in Illinois in divorce and other family law matters. To schedule a consultation, call (630) 504-7210.


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