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Common threats that keep too many people in unhappy marriages

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2024 | Divorce |

Too often, spouses stay in unhappy or even abusive and toxic marriages because they fear they’ll lose everything in a divorce – sometimes including their children. This most often happens when the spouse who doesn’t want the divorce has more money, power and influence individually than the other.

They may just have a stronger presence. This often leads to emotional and verbal abuse. It’s a miserable way to live and can make divorce unpleasant. If that person is confronted with the possibility that the life they’re used to and the solid marriage they’ve portrayed to the outside world could crumble, they often lash out with threats that can scare their spouse into not proceeding with divorce.

Note that we’re not talking about physical abuse (or even threat of physical abuse) here, which is a completely different issue. Nonetheless, these threats of what they’ll do in a divorce can be powerful.

It’s important to remember that they’re mostly bluster – and won’t hold up under the law. That’s why it’s critical to learn more about your rights and the steps you can take to protect them in divorce. Here are a few common threats – and how the law is on your side.

“If you divorce me, you’ll be left with nothing”

That’s not how it works. Illinois is an equitable division state, which means that in a litigated divorce, a judge will divide the couple’s marital assets equitably.

“You’ll never see the kids again”

As in all states, child custody decisions in Illinois are made by courts based on what’s in a child’s best interests. Violating a child custody order can land a parent in jail.

“I won’t pay you a dime of support”

Both child and spousal support are based in part on the financial resources and earning potential of both spouses. Even if someone intentionally works less than they can or even quits their job, if they’re capable of earning more than they are, their support obligations won’t be reduced or eliminated. Further, Illinois, like all states, takes support orders seriously and has methods for garnishing wages and taking other steps to get payment from those who owe it. Again, jail can be a consequence of violating support orders.

Certainly, threats like this can be intimidating, and they likely signal that your divorce won’t be an amicable and uncomplicated one. However, by getting sound legal guidance as soon as possible, you can feel empowered to seek the agreements necessary to let you move forward.