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In Your Court: The spouse you divorce is the spouse you married

Published: Friday, Aug. 1, 2014 10:08 a.m. CDT

A divorce is a highly emotional proceeding in and of itself. However, you can prepare yourself for the emotional turmoil of a divorce, as well as the potential cost, by truthfully reflecting on who your spouse was during the marriage. Generally speaking, how your spouse acted during the course of the marriage is how your spouse will act during the divorce proceedings.

If you are divorcing your spouse because your spouse was controlling and abusive toward you during the marriage, expect the same treatment during the divorce proceeding. Expect the incivility and disrespect from your spouse to continue. Additionally, expect a more expensive and emotionally draining divorce, due to a greater likelihood of the filing of orders of protection or restraining orders.

If you are divorcing your spouse because your spouse only communicated with you through argument, expect extensive arguments throughout the divorce proceeding. Expect to argue not just about the division of assets and debts, but also about the division of inconsequential personal property, such as pots, pans and shower curtains. Somewhat emotionally draining, this divorce will likely be costly due to the constant battling in court.

If you are divorcing your spouse because your spouse was inattentive to important matters during the marriage (i.e. finances), expect your spouse to be inattentive to the divorce proceedings. Expect having to file motions for default and motions to compel to force your spouse to participate in the proceedings. Somewhat emotionally draining, this divorce could be more costly because your attorney will be doing all of the work.

If the reason for the divorce is because your relationship just didn’t work out, but you still care for that person and your spouse cares for you, expect a quicker, less expensive and less emotionally draining divorce.

Caveat: The above are obvious generalizations, and just as each case is fact-specific, so too are people unique. I have had very argumentative couples divorce quickly and with modest cost, and I have had very amicable couples refuse to budge on inconsequential matters, driving the legal fees upward. 

• Anthony Scifo is a resident of Kane County and an associate attorney with Shaw, Jacobs, Goostree and Associates P.C. in St. Charles, where he concentrates in divorce and family law, personal injury and wrongful death. His goal with this occasional column is to help educate the public regarding the court system and the law. Contact him with general legal questions at editorial@kcchronicle.com.

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