With the changes to Illinois law commencing on January 1, 2016, Illinois truly became a no-fault state when it comes to divorcing your spouse. While “irreconcilable differences” has always been one of the options for filing a petition to pursue a divorce from your spouse, Public Act 99-90 eliminated any fault-based grounds for dissolving a marriage. Previously, one of the grounds for divorce in Illinois was if one party had a substance abuse problem for at least two years. Notwithstanding that substance abuse is no longer an option for the dissolution of marriage, substance abuse often plays a major role in divorces in the United States.
Many studies have shown that marriages with one or more partners who have a serious alcohol problem are more likely to end in divorce. One such study published in May 2014 in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs*, researchers from the University of Michigan compiled data from a nationwide endeavor called the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). The study involved 17,192 participants and included the comparison of divorce rates for people with a diagnosed alcohol use disorder to the divorce rates for people not affected by alcoholism. As part of the study, researchers also investigated how underlying factors can increase or decrease the odds of going through a divorce. The research concluded that divorce rates for couples with past or present alcohol abuse was 48.3%, by comparison divorce rates for couples without substance abuse issues was 30%.
Substance abuse issues are a known cause of strain in relationships. Alcohol abuse often leads to serious issues such as financial problems, difficulty for the alcoholic spouse to maintain employment, constant arguments, domestic violence, or other relationship problems which were not present before the substance abuse issues. Frequently, the partners of the addicts feel there has been a drastic change in a loved one and feel helpless to help them through this addiction. This despair may be a trigger for seeking legal guidance and obtaining a separation or divorce. Often, the sober partner explores divorce as a last option after attempts at rehabilitation and counseling have been made and continue to fail.
With the complexity of issues related to substance abuse and divorce, it is important to seek legal advice to navigate the many obstacles involved in this process. Every divorce is unique and with the potential obstacles that may be encountered due to the substance abuse, it is important to have an attorney in your corner who is familiar with all aspects of Illinois law and who can tailor your position to directly address the issues of your situations. Ask questions when you first meet with your attorney, and as new issues come up, discuss the standards and the changes so that you are well-informed and not confused when the court makes important decisions concerning your divorce.
With our office in Orland Park, the Sterk Family Law Group serves clients in Cook county, Will county, and DuPage county. Our professional family law group is ready to serve you today. Schedule your free, no obligation consultation to see how our legal team and experienced family law attorneys can assist you with your family law needs. Call us at 815-600-8950 or visit sterkfamilylaw.com.
This article does not constitute individual legal advice and is not to be construed as such. This article contains general information and constitutes legal advertising.
*Cranford, J. A. (2014). DSM-IV Alcohol Dependence and Marital Dissolution: Evidence From the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 75(3), 520–529.
The percentage of divorcing couples has been on the decline, however, the occurrence of “gray divorces” or divorcing couples over 50 years old, has been on the incline. There are a variety of considerations as to why this age bracket decides to make late-in-life changes. Much like many other traits (work ethic, beliefs, etc.) the characteristics of Baby Boomer marriages were often formed from a different blueprint than the younger generations. A “gray divorce” may also be correlated with the onset of the “empty nest”, when adult children have all left the family home. In a perfect world, every marriage would be a fairy tale-esque love story, but the reality for boomers is that many marriages began due to the onset of wars and other marriages may have begun to try to maintain traditions. Younger generations have begun to have a more individualistic type of approach to marriage which are now being mirrored by preceding generations.
Divorce after 50 for many brings unique issues. One unique factor not often spoken about is the increased risk for a 50 plus divorcee to be a victim of cyber related scam before, during or after divorce. While some of the 50 plus crowd is technology savvy, many are not, which is leaving them more vulnerable to fall victim to scams. Your divorce decree and some of the filings related thereto are public records that can easily be found through simple internet searches on court websites. It is very important to work with your attorney to limit the details of your personal financial affairs in the court record.
Most seniors don’t know when they’re being deceived, and if there is no one watching out for them, it can result in huge losses. Someone may call and impersonate a family member, telling the senior that they are in trouble and need some money. The scammers that target seniors do their research; they know who is divorcing, living alone, and they take advantage. There are millions of cases of financial scams happening to seniors every year. As a result of these scams, the financial losses can be enormous, yet only a small percentage of cases are being reported. While a young adult’s financial mistakes can be corrected with a couple of decades of prudent money management, there is a higher demand for people over 50 to be more cautious with their finances and savings. Seniors often feel guilt or shame when they have been taken advantage of and they don’t know where to turn.
Scams can and do happen in various forms and it is important to trust your intuition. A fraudulent call or email that appears to come from a trusted company asks for account information. If they are really calling from your bank, why do they need you to tell them your banking information? The home improvement salesman, who asks for money up front but does not complete the job, takes the senior for a ride. Repair fraud is very common, with scammers showing up at doors claiming a home is in desperate need of repair and their company can do this as long as money is provided prior to starting. The fake charity callers who use a natural disaster to make phone calls to cheat the elderly. The fake grandchild who calls saying they have been in an accident and they need money sent via wire, right away.
Stay informed to prevent fraud, scams, and financial problems. Proceed with caution. Do some research. Learn how to stay safe on the internet. Do not be fooled by a person who knows details about your life, because this is just a way of getting more information and money out of you. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Do not give information away or sign up for a particular service without doing more investigation. Check your credit regularly and report any scams. Keep your passwords private and limit the number of people who have financial data about you.
Education and knowledge are gifts that can be enjoyed by people of all ages so a grey divorce could also be seen as a silver lining. STOP, INVESTIGATE AND CALL OUT FOR HELP TO MAKE SURE YOU DON’T GET TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF BY A SCAMMER. Beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing.
This article does not constitute individual legal advice and is to not to be construed as such. This article contains general information and constitutes legal advertising.