There are many misconceptions that I hear from people who are considering divorce in Illinios but who haven't yet consulted with a lawyer. Below is just a sampling of these myths:
1) Its Mine: The thinking goes something like this: "If my name is on it, its mine and my spouse has no right...." This is sometimes the thinking if one spouse is the only one on title to the house or a bank account. This is where the whole concept of "marital property" comes into play.
2) Its Not Mine: See #1 and apply it in reverse.
3) I'll be fine if I represent myself: No offense and don't take it personally, but I could write an entire book about why I do not believe this to be the case. With the exception of folks who qualify for a "joint and simplified divorce" - there is no better way to get a bad outcome in something as important as your divorce, than by representing yourself. In the interest of being brief, let me just say that looking back on it now, I would not have wanted to be one of my own divorce clients in my first year or two of practice - and that was AFTER 3 years of law school and having worked at the law clinic during school.
4) I'll "Win" the (House, Car, Money, etc) as soon as the judge hears how horrible I was treated
No. Stop right there. First of all, in most divorces the specifics of what went on between the two of you will never be known by the judge - because it can't be taken into account when deciding who gets what. It doesn't matter from a legal standpoint how horrible he or she was to you. It is important to you, but it won't make a bit of difference when it comes to how the money is distributed and the court won't want to hear it if you bring it up in the context of "who gets what". Now, if the other person spent money inappropriately once the marriage was dead to keep you from getting anything, that's different - discuss it with your lawyer as you may have a claim for "Dissipation".
Understanding Divorce can be confusing and hard to think about. Don't just assume that you know how things will work, even if you have been divorced before. The laws change and every divorce is different. Write down your concerns and discuss them with a lawyer, before you get all bent out of shape over your perceptions of the outcome. Give us a call at 630 250-8813 to schedule a confidential appointment about divorce. It will put your mind at ease.