Across the Atlantic, Studies Debunk Myths About Divorce

Across the Atlantic, Studies Debunk Myths About Divorce

Are people who stay together in marriages happier than those who divorce, and are populations with higher divorce rates less happy?

It’s a well-known fact that divorce is increasingly common in the United States, with about 40% to 50% of married couples divorcing, according to the American Psychological Association. However, the divorce rate varies substantially among states, and even more when you compare the U.S. to other western countries. Surprisingly, a study has shown that one of the happiest countries in Europe has one of the highest divorce rates.

Divorce, dividing property, deciding what is best for children, and other family law issues are emotionally charged situations that are life-changing for everyone involved.  Making mistakes can be costly, both financially and emotionally, so anyone considering divorce should consult an experienced family law attorney.

The seasoned and compassionate Illinois family law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. always focus on our clients’ needs and feelings, and we work to clarify and resolve the issues you are facing in the most effective and efficient manner.  We offer a free consultation to help you find the best solution for your individual situation.  Call us today for your free consultation or contact our team online.

Divorce in Denmark vs. the US

Denmark is considered to be one of the happiest countries in the world.  Yet, it has the highest divorce rate in Western Europe, with nearly half of all marriages ending in divorce as of 2017.

One reason for the high divorce rate is that it is easy to get divorced in Denmark. Couples are able to complete an online form, pay a $60 fee, and get a divorce in less than a week.

In comparison, getting a divorce in the U.S. often takes longer, is more complicated, and is more expensive. If the divorce involves a court battle, it can mean months or even years of drawn-out litigation that can cause stress, extra tension between the divorcing couple, and harm to children.  The process certainly doesn’t add to happiness.

Does making it easier to get a divorce make people happier?  It could if it eliminates some of the contentious fighting and high costs that can be involved with getting a divorce in the U.S.  However, making it too easy to divorce can lead to breaking up a marriage impulsively and unnecessarily when the couple might have been able to stay together if they took the time and made the effort to resolve their issues. Especially when children are involved, staying together and working on issues might be a better solution.

Recognizing these problems, Denmark has new rules going into effect next year.  For couples without kids and marriages that involve abuse, speedy divorce will still be possible. However, couples with children will have to go through a three-week “reflection period” and get free counseling before a divorce is made final. This allows time to think about how to deal with and tell the children and work out living and visitation arrangements. The children will also receive counseling during this time.

Divorce in the United Kingdom

In contrast to Denmark, the divorce rates the past 14 years have dropped by over one-fifth in the United Kingdom (UK).  Fewer people are getting married; there is less social pressure to get married, so marriage is more of a choice. Divorce is expensive in the UK, and it is recognized that when parents split up children are more likely to struggle at school and have problems with drugs and mental health. Nearly half of children in single-parent families wind up living in poverty, and 35 percent of divorced fathers are absent from their children’s lives. Consequently, people in the UK are more apt to think carefully before getting a divorce.

Divorce in Illinois

Illinois has a fairly low divorce rate at 9.8%. While divorce in Illinois is still an involved process, there have been changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) since 2016 that lessen the time couples spend in divorce court and make it fairer for parents with children.  These include:

1) Grounds

Couples no longer need grounds for divorce, just “irreconcilable differences.” Previously couples had to live separately for two years unless they could prove grounds, such as “extreme physical or mental cruelty” or “adultery.”

2) Custody and Visitation Terminology

The terms “custody” and “visitation” have been changed to “Allocation of Parental Responsibility and Parenting Time.”  This enables parents to be on more equal footing and have the right to make significant decisions for the children.

3) Parental Relocation

Parents can now move across state lines without seeking court approval if the move is 25 miles or less. This protects children from being taken too far from the other parent while eliminating needless litigation if a move crossed a state line.

4) Child Support

Effective July, 1, 2017, both parents’ incomes are considered when determining the child support award. Both parents are now accountable for child support based on how much they financially contributed to the combined household income while married.

Contact Us For Help And a Free Consultation

Divorce should not be entered into lightly, as it is costly both financially and emotionally. Illinois laws and guidelines can be difficult to interpret and making a mistake could mean returning to court with a nasty, costly drawn-out battles that adversely affect you and your children. Fortunately, there is help available when you have a lawyer on your side. The experienced Illinois family law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec handle all divorce cases with sensitivity, respect, and discretion.  We understand the special needs of couples facing divorce and will analyze your situation to see what works best in your individual case.

At Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., we made our reputation one client at a time, and we put every ounce of our ability into every case. There are no ready-made solutions in divorce and family law – every case needs to be considered on its own merit. Our lawyers take the time to delve deeply into the problems and to understand your goals and concerns. Then we develop a legal strategy designed to achieve those objectives and allow you to resolve issues as quickly, fairly, and peacefully as possible.

Call us today for your free consultation or contact our team online.