Illinois Divorce and Family Law Weblog

Helping You and Your Family get through DivorceSM.
Weblog of DuPage County Attorney Raiford D. Palmer, focusing on divorce and family law.
(Copyright© 2005-2008 by Raiford D. Palmer. All rights reserved.) This blog is for advertising only and the contents are not legal advice.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Some Popular Divorce Myths...

"If you leave the house, your husband gets it." - Wrong. Whether the equity in a home is divided between you has to do with who purchased it, when it was purchased, and with what money, as well as whether both of you contributed to the upkeep and mortgage. Leaving the house does not give up any claim to the real estate as marital property.

"If I am the only one on the title to the car/boat/house, I own it." Wrong. As for third parties (other people outside the marriage, this is true. But in divorce, assets purchased during the marriage are presumed by the court to be marital (and therefore to be divided) unless proven otherwise.

"I should get half of his pay, right?" Maybe wrong. This depends on a large number of long the marriage was, number of children, the relative incomes and educations of the parties, and more. Assets and debts are divided equitably (notice I did not say equally because equitable--meaning fair--does not necessarily mean "equal," but a spouse's income is not necessarily divided in half to be paid to the other party. In fact, usually that is not the case in the typical divorce.

"Because she cheated on me, she can't get (part of the house, the car, the dog, alimony, etc.)" Wrong. The cause of the divorce (the "why") usually has no bearing on the child support, maintenance (alimony), and division of property and debt. This might play into custody/visitation however depending on the facts. Waste of marital money by a spouse as part of the cheating, however (like plane tickets, an apartment rented for a girlfriend) is different and figures into the division of assets and debt in the case--this is known as "dissipation" or "waste" of marital assets.

Hope these help. If any questions, please email me at

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Dangers of "Living Together" vs. marriage. Why would divorce be better?

In Illinois, living together grants you no special rights...whether you have had children together, bought a house, or lived together for thirty years! The only way to truly protect property rights between a couple in a committed relationship is through marriage. Illinois does not have "common law" marriage. In some states living together continuously for several years can provide legal rights similar to marriage. Illinois law is clear. Living together provides no duties or rights between the couple, no matter how long they live together. A member of a cohabiting couple can simply walk out after ten, twenty, or thirty years with no obligations to the "significant other."Married people have rights to an equitable division of marital debt and assets, potential for alimony (maintenance), and more. So, if you are in a committed relationship, get married. All you need is a license and a quick ceremony before a Judge.

You can always email me at Email, or call me directly at 630.434.0400 Ext. 165 to discuss any family law and divorce matter. We provide free in-person consultations, and professional, personal service.