As a Chicago family law attorney, learning the client’s story of their marriage is an integral part of understanding the issues that led to the breakdown of the marriage, and how those issues will continue to impact the parties during the divorce process. By the time I speak to a client, that person has usually already made up their mind that they want to file for divorce. Are you unhappy in your marriage and think you may be heading for divorce? If that sounds like your situation, you may want to speak to a divorce lawyer about the issues you are experiencing and ways to protect yourself and, if you’re a parent, your children.
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Warning Signs You May Be Heading for Divorce
Here are some of the warning signs that your marriage may be heading for divorce:
1) You’re fighting all the time.
Every couple fights, some more than others. But if you find that you and your spouse cannot seem to communicate without things becoming an argument every time (or just about), that is a serious warning sign that your marriage is not in a good place. This is especially true if your arguments involve any kind of violence, threats, or intimidation. Healthy couples should be able to communicate through difficult subjects without fighting all the time. And they especially don’t need to resort to yelling, aggression, or bullying. If you find that these are common elements in your marriage relationship, and you spend more time being angry with one another than you do getting along, it may be time to talk to a divorce lawyer.
2) You’re fighting all the time in front of the kids.
Again, every married couple fights. But for those who have children, it’s especially important to put their children’s needs first and avoid confrontation while they are present. Save the marital arguments for times when they are not around and do your best to remain civil and respectful until then. No child should have to watch, and listen to, their parents argue or be made to feel like they have to choose sides. These experiences are extremely painful for children and can have lifelong repercussions for your children and their emotional health and well-being. If you and your spouse cannot contain your arguments to times when you are away from your children, and your fights are spilling over into family time, it’s time to consider talking to a divorce attorney.
3) Your spouse is abusive towards you and/or the children.
No one should ever have to experience any type of abuse in a marriage. If your spouse is abusive towards you, and that includes verbal, emotional, or physical abuse, it’s time to leave. And once you’ve gotten to a safe place, call a divorce lawyer.
Likewise, no child should have to be the victim of abuse by a parent, witness a parent being abused by another parent, or find themselves in the position of trying to stop the abuse. Even if the children are not being hit, children who witness domestic violence between their parents, and are subjected to constant fighting and violence in the home, can and do experience childhood trauma that can result in significant mental health issues. If your spouse is violent or emotionally abusive towards you in front of your children, or directly to your children, it’s time to leave.
4) Your spouse is hiding things from you, especially money.
If you find that your spouse seems to be hiding things from you, including moving around money, making unusual purchases, or hiding their spending, it may be time to call an attorney. Sometimes individuals start moving money into separate accounts, or spending in excessive or unusual ways when they are considering ending a marriage in an effort to keep their spouse from having access to their bank accounts. This can put the spouse in serious financial distress once they find out their access to their bank accounts has been restricted, or worse, the money has all been spent. You also want to be careful about debts, as sometimes spouses find out that their partners have racked up huge debts without their knowledge, much less their consent.
If you are worried that your spouse is hiding assets, trying to keep money from you, or has amassed a lot of debt, it would be a good idea to talk to a lawyer about how to protect yourself financially from your spouse’s actions.
5) Your spouse is having an affair.
Not all infidelities result in divorce, nor should they. It’s a personal decision for each couple. However, if you think your spouse’s actions are putting you at risk physically (think STIs) or financially, you may want to talk to a lawyer. Often individuals whose spouses have been cheating find out that marital money has been spent on the significant other(s). If that has happened to you, you’ll want to talk to a lawyer about your right to reclaim that money as part of the marital estate. While Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, that doesn’t mean that judges condone spending marital money on relationships outside of the marriage.