Women’s Issues During Divorce
While the United States has made significant strides in the arena of gender equality in the last few decades, there is still quite a bit of work to be done, especially in terms of perception of rights or lack thereof. This is very clearly articulated in divorces, as several issues may come up during the process that affect women substantially more than men.
Perhaps the most pressing concern for many women before and during a divorce is financial, because there are still a great many marriages where the husband handles the bulk of the financial decisions and assets. This is especially true if you and your spouse are older and were married during a time when women were less involved in anything outside the realm of child-rearing. While Illinois is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the marital estate will be divided between the spouses as fairly as possible, this does not take away the issues that can come along with being inexperienced in financial matters.
Even if you are experienced in financial questions, you may be surprised by the court’s eventual asset distribution if you do not immediately familiarize yourself with all aspects of your marital accounts. For example, you may know that your spouse has individual accounts or assets in his name, but if you are not aware that he or she funnels marital money into those accounts, you may end up being cheated out of income that is rightfully yours. Even with spousal support, which is not always awarded, it is rarely possible to maintain the same standard of living on one salary that you enjoyed with two.
Child Support and Parenting Time Issues
The other major question that often concerns women during divorce is concerning any children of the marriage. While states including Illinois have largely moved away from the “tender years” doctrine which used to automatically grant custody of minors to their mother, sometimes a judge will award custody to the mother out of a misplaced sense that it is more appropriate by default. While a mother may, in fact, be better suited to serve as the primary caregiver, each case must be handled on its own merits. It is more common than ever before for a father to be in a better position to care for the child or children after the divorce.
If you want custody and it is not granted, conversely, you may wind up having to prove that you are a fit parent. Sometimes, especially in Cook County, mediation will be ordered if you and your spouse cannot agree on parenting time issues, because a parenting plan cannot be finished without agreement on allocation of parental responsibilities. However, mediators are not perfect, and while they can help you adhere to your agreement, you must first be able to agree on a parenting arrangment. Women can sometimes be talked over in situations such as this, especially if your spouse is the forceful sort. It is imperative that you speak up on your own behalf.
Need Help Navigating Divorce?
Many women are very capable of handling themselves during a divorce, but because of outdated social mores and practices, many require help—or at least another set of eyes to ensure that every detail in your paperwork is as it should be. Our passionate Kane County divorce attorneys understand the particular questions that you may encounter, and we will do our best to assist. Call 630-232-9700 today to set up an initial appointment.