Common Misconceptions about the Divorce Process
Interviewer: What are some of the misconceptions people have about the divorce process what they come to you?
No-Fault Divorce: The Reason for the Divorce Has No Bearing on Determining Child Support or Maintenance
Mark Kezy: One of the biggest misconceptions that people have is that the reasons for the divorce matter. Both men and women say that, “My wife or my husband is cheating on me and because of that I should get more money” or he or she should pay more of the debt. Or the issue somehow should have weight regarding the custody and visitation of the children and it doesn’t.
You have to make clients understand that Illinois is a no-fault state, which means that why you’re getting divorced is just the reasons for the grounds for the divorce. It’s not going to have any difference on how the money or the property is going to get divided or how the debt is going to get divided. Very rarely, if ever, will it have any bearing on who gets custody of the children or what kind of visitation schedule will be enforced.
Again, it’s about sitting down with people, being very realistic about it, being very honest with them, and matching expectations.
Divorce in the 21st Century: In Current Times, Both Spouses are Usually Employed and Have the Means to Support Themselves
Interviewer: What about “The wife always gets half or the wife is going to get everything”? Is that a misconception?
Mark Kezy: That depends on your clientele but again a lot of my clients are people who are professionals or business owners. Most of my clients or both of the parties are in the workforce, both of them are making money and, quite honestly, both of them are making enough money and can get by without the assistance of the other.
Interviewer: I think if people have substantial assets, do they tend to get greedy when it comes to divorce or are they rational? What behaviors do you see?
Mark Kezy: Again, that goes back to the client, the mentality of the client, and the personality of the client. Like I said, people will find attorneys that match their personalities. If you are angry and you’re unreasonable and your primary focus is to hurt the other side, to punish the other side, you’re going to find somebody that’s going to do that for you.
Quite honestly, I don’t really have much of that problem because those types of clients don’t retain me. The clients that find me, the clients that retain me are the people that use a lot of common sense.
Should You Consider a Divorce Attorney Based on a Recommendation?
Interviewer: Do you find yourself turning away a lot of cases because of this?
Mark Kezy: Not so much, no, because to be honest, most of my clients come from referrals. Not only are they referred by my past clients, but I receive many referrals from other attorneys. As unusual as it may sound, I get quite a few cases from other divorce attorneys.
In fact, these are attorneys that I’ve had cases with in the past. The cases that I get from those attorneys are usually cases that are somewhat complicated, that have a lot of things involved with them. The issues might have included tax issues, securities issues, property issues; these are aspects that they’re not necessarily comfortable doing. They’d say “Mark Kezy has a lot of experience with these matters. Go see him.”
Should Your Divorce Attorney Educate You about the Divorce Process? Do You Know What to Expect during a Divorce?
Interviewer: Are there any other misconceptions that people have about the divorce process when they come to you?
Mark Kezy: No, I don’t think so. When I sit down with my clients, initially I spend a lot of time going over what their situation is. We go over their assets, their debts, what their financial situation is, and are they in business for themselves? What kind of business?
If there are children involved, how old are they? I give them a pretty good overview about what to really expect. If you can foster the expectations right up front, you can dispel any myths they might be bringing to the process.
Are There Still Myths or Urban legends about Divorce in 2014?
Interviewer: What myths are you dispelling?
Equal Time Sharing: Courts Are Not Predisposed Toward the Mother
Mark Kezy: Some of the myths may be that in a custody situation that the courts are predisposed towards the mothers. 2014 is a different world than when I first started more than 20 years ago. Women were not only making less money, they were making substantially less money. There used to be talk about the glass ceiling. Now you see a lot of women who are not only making more money than their husbands, but they’re making substantially more money than their husbands.
In those situations, one of the myths I encounter is that, “Because I’m the woman, maybe I should get more money” or “I shouldn’t have to pay more than 50% of the estate.” Or, if the children are residing with the father, they say, “I shouldn’t have to pay any child support.”