Call now (312) 341 – 0900


Safeguard Your Divorce Journey in Illinois: Avoid These Top Ten Mistakes

By Corri Fetman | February 26, 2024

Embarking on the challenging path of divorce in Illinois requires a profound understanding of the legal landscape to navigate the complexities and challenges that come with this transformative life event. Unfortunately, many individuals unknowingly make common mistakes that can significantly impact the outcome of their divorce proceedings. In this article, we explore a more comprehensive list of pitfalls and offer guidance on how to sidestep these issues for a smoother transition.

  1. Thorough Financial Preparation

    A pervasive mistake in Illinois divorces is the absence of meticulous financial preparation. Initiating divorce proceedings without a comprehensive understanding of one’s financial situation, including assets, liabilities, and income, is a common misstep. Collecting essential financial documents, such as bank statements, tax returns, and property records, is crucial to ensuring an equitable division of marital property and debts. This is especially true if you are not responsible for the finances. Start paying attention to the finances. Also, ensure to procure financial records prior to filing or the discovery process will likely be an expensive venture with a barrage of games being played by your spouse.

  2. Recognizing the Vital Role of Legal Counsel

    Attempting to navigate the complexities of divorce without proper legal representation is a perilous decision. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney in Illinois is not just a suggestion but a necessity. A qualified attorney can provide expert guidance on the nuances of Illinois divorce laws, elucidate your rights, and negotiate on your behalf which will ensure a more favorable outcome. It is also important to consult with the attorney well in advance of filing so the attorney to provide insight on strategy and options for your particular case and circumstances. Obviously, this may not be possible if your spouse filed first or there is abuse involved in the case.

  3. Addressing Marital Debts

    While asset division often takes precedence, overlooking marital debts is a common oversight. In Illinois, both assets and debts acquired during the marriage are subject to equitable distribution. Neglecting debts or not paying attention to the long term effects of financial debt may result in an increased financial burden post-divorce, jeopardizing long-term financial stability.

  4. Acknowledging Tax Implications

    Divorce may trigger far-reaching tax consequences that are often underestimated. Seeking advice from a tax professional or financial advisor is crucial for understanding potential tax consequences and making informed decisions. If you do not use a financial professional, it is wise to seek referrals of accountants prior to filing for divorce.

  5. Mitigating Emotional Decision-Making

    Recognizing the emotionally charged nature of divorce, it is imperative to prevent emotions from dictating decisions. Succumbing to emotional turmoil without maintaining a rational perspective can result in regrettable outcomes. It is also wise not to rush into decisions that may have long term consequences. It is best to have a rational support system and to think about potential outcomes before making decisions. By way of example, making an emotional decision about keeping an expensive asset such as a house, when, in reality, you cannot afford to do so may have detrimental consequences.

  6. Deactivate Social Media and Stop Written Communications

    If you do not need to post on social media for your business or livelihood, it is best to deactivate all social media. Why? Because the written word will bury you. Discontinue all written communications, such as sending text messages, emails, messenger and any written communications to your spouse, paramour or any potential witnesses in the case. No one ever listens to this advice until it is too late and the “smoking gun” email is being read in court.

  7. Cultivating Realistic Expectations

    Harboring unrealistic expectations about the divorce process is another common misstep. To understand that all results may not align with preconceived notions is essential. Understanding that divorce involves compromises and never ending strategic moves is the key to success and positive outcomes.

  8. Insufficient Funds for Attorney’s Fees

    Overlooking the financial aspect of the cost of divorce is a critical mistake. In some cases, attorneys’ fees and costs may be paid from the marital estate or the opposing party. This is not guaranteed or applicable in every case. If you do not have sufficient funds for attorney and professional fees, it can lead to running out of financial resources often at crucial times such as when one has been victorious in several meaningful parts of the case or the strategy has proved to be successful. This is no different than running out of funds when planning a construction project or building a new house-you cannot reside in a house without a roof. Adequate financial planning, including budgeting for legal representation, is essential to sustain the legal process. In Illinois, attorneys are prohibited from accepting contingency cases. As a result, divorce clients are required to pay for legal and professional fees. Since a lawyer or law firm cannot finance litigation or a case, it is essential to be prepared in advance.

  9. Valuing Professional Guidance Over Peer Advice

    Relying on advice from well-meaning friends and family, while disregarding guidance from legal professionals, is a significant error. Each divorce case is unique, and what worked for someone else may not be applicable to your situation. Attorneys, equipped with knowledge and experience, can provide tailored advice based on the specifics of your case and provide essential strategy on an ongoing basis in the case.

  10. Victim/Blame Game

    There is a time, duration and place for a pity party when going through divorce. It is inevitable. However, that being said, taking responsibility for one’s own actions and contributions to the issues in the marriage is a vital aspect of personal growth. This self-reflection can lead to a better understanding of oneself and one’s role in the relationship dynamics. The divorce process provides an opportunity for personal learning and growth. Individuals can reflect on the lessons learned from the marriage and use them to become stronger, more self-aware individuals.

This proactive approach contributes to a positive mindset for the future. Rather than dwelling on the negative aspects of the divorce, individuals can choose to focus on the positives and opportunities that lie ahead. This might include newfound independence, the chance to pursue personal goals, or the opportunity to build healthier relationships in the future. Divorce brings significant changes, and embracing these changes with a positive attitude can be transformative. Instead of viewing the divorce as a failure, individuals can see it as an opportunity for a new beginning and a chance to create a life that aligns better with their values and aspirations.

Successfully navigating a divorce in Illinois demands careful consideration, strategic planning, and a proactive approach to avoid common pitfalls. By approaching the divorce process with diligence, emotional intelligence, and expert guidance, individuals can confidently embark on a new chapter with stability and confidence. The attorneys at Corri Fetman & Associates, Ltd. are equipped to assist in navigating this process. To speak to an attorney about a family law matter, call us at (312) 341-0900 or click the link below to book a consultation.

Get in touch

To Learn How We Can Help You Address These Matters

Follow Corri Fetman & Associates, Ltd. on Social Media