Benefits and Drawbacks to Talking about Divorce Before Filing

Many people are nervous about broaching the topic of divorce with their spouse, and justifiably so. There are some potential benefits and drawbacks to bringing up divorce before the case has actually been filed. One potential benefit is that by talking about the divorce before starting the case, the spouse considering divorce can avoid completely surprising the other person. If someone is “ambushed” by their spouse filing for divorce, it could make the case more adversarial. If the spouses have decided they are going to live together during the divorce case, a surprise divorce filing could make things tense at the home. If someone is unreasonable during negotiations, that can drag out the case, making it more expensive, time-consuming, and stressful. However, discussing the possibility of filing for divorce before actually filing the case can be very risky and can backfire. There are a good number of ways that revealing your plan can damage your case and we will only mention a few of them here. A spouse who finds out that the other spouse is considering divorce may clean out the bank accounts, divert income, and sell or hide assets. While there can be ways to try and recover the money through the court system, it can be harder to recover the money once it is gone or spent. Other spouses may spend more money than usual on tangible goods to create a divorce “stockpile.” In another situation, the spouse might decide to move out and not tell the other spouse where they live. This could make personal service difficult and more expensive. Ultimately, a person considering filing for divorce should consult with a divorce lawyer and decide whether revealing their plan to file for divorce may be harmful or helpful.

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If you are looking for legal advice and representation with an Illinois divorce, schedule a consultation with experienced Chicago divorce attorney, Tanya Witt, at (312) 500-5400 or

Representing men and women in Chicago divorce and child custody cases.

This blog does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with an attorney regarding your specific case.