A. I can't file under no-fault unless we've been living in separate residences:
FALSE. The statute requires a period of separation in excess of 2 years unless the parties agree that they have been separated for a period in excess of 6 months and agree to waive the remainder of the 2 year period. Separation does NOT mean separate residences. If you are curious about a divorce, you probably already meet the 6 months requirement.
B. The person who files first has the advantage:
FALSE. There is no advantage to "filing first". For purposes of custody, support, maintenance, and property division it does not matter at all who files first. If there are concerns about a spouse fleeing the jurisdiction, by filing a Praecipe or Petition will lock jurisdiction in your county, but that's it. It has no impact on the outcome of your case.
C. I can't move out or I lose the equity in my home:
FALSE. Your rights to the equity in any marital property is NOT waived by leaving the residence. Moving out of the marital residence can have other repercussions, but losing your equity interest is not one of them.
D. I get more if I prove a "ground" for the divorce as opposed to "no fault":
FALSE. While you may feel like you deserve more, the law does not see it that way. You may feel vindicated by proving you spouse has been having an affair, was abusive, or whatever, but it won't get you a better judgment. Having an affair does have implications, and to the extent you can prove spouse has dissipated money/assets in furtherance of the affair you will most likely get some of that money back; however, the affair itself has no impact.
E. I can't afford a divorce:
FALSE. While a divorce can be expensive and it is not uncommon for a Naperville divorce lawyer to charge $3,500+ as an initial retainer, there are some attorneys who will work on a "sliding scale" designed around your financial situation. Times are tough, not only because of your personal situation but right now, the economy is making everyone's finances very tight. Talk with an attorney about whether or not they will work on a sliding scale. It may be a truer statement that you cannot afford to NOT get a divorce. Isn't it worth at least a confidential, hassle-free consultation to find out?
Matthew M. Williams: 630-409-1261 or e-mail