In my experience as a Chicago divorce attorney, when it comes to which spouse initiates a divorce in a marriage it is more often the wife. Of course, there are plenty of husbands who file for divorce but in a typical case, it is the wife.
Insights from a Chicago Divorce Attorney
I presume that the reason for women filing first is because it is more often the wife who will search out an attorney to talk to about divorce and schedule a consultation with a divorce lawyer to talk about what is going on in the marriage and her reasons for thinking of filing for divorce. Once the wife has the consultation with a lawyer and gathers the information, she has the tools to move forward and has started to develop a relationship with an attorney who can represent her so she feels more comfortable filing.
Men also initiate divorce and they also are the ones who have reached out and obtained information through a consultation with a divorce lawyer. Once either party – the husband or the wife – has been provided with the information about the Illinois divorce process and how things may look at the end, they can then make the decision about filing for divorce.
When the marriage is not going well it often confusing and concerning to both spouses how a divorce would work and how things would change. And we all know that change is hard – especially in relationships. Once you decide to get a divorce and talk with an experienced attorney who can assure you that it is not the end of the world and how things may look once you get a divorce, there is comfort in moving forward if that is what you believe is best for you personally and your family.
Who Initiates a Divorce Does Not Matter
It is important to keep in mind that it does not matter who files for divorce – the person who files is the “Petitioner” and the person who responds to the filing is called the “Respondent.” The courts do not give more deference either way to the Petitioner or Respondent. The courts are not concerned with who filed the case. Both parties are on equal footing when it comes to being a Petitioner or Respondent in a divorce in Chicago. The court is not concerned with why the divorce has been filed since conduct does not matter when it comes to dividing assets and liabilities. The only time conduct comes into play is when children are involved and conduct affects the best interest of the children. You could have been the best wife in the world or the worst and the property division in your divorce would not take your conduct, standing alone, into account.
Some Conduct May Matter
In the news recently is Ben Zobrist’s wife Julianna Zobrist who claimed in her divorce filing that Ben had failed to preserve marital assets by taking a leave of absence from the Chicago Cubs (in May of 2019). That leave of absence resulted in a reduction in his income. Julianna Zobrist has requested an award of the money that Ben did not earn due to his leave of absence. This is an example of conduct that, if proven to be done intentionally and voluntarily to reduce income solely for the purpose of dissipating the marital estate or to reduce liability for spousal maintenance, would be considered in the division of marital property.