Page 20 - March 2021
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How to have a ‘good’ divorce
They say that all good things come to an end, and that should include all bad things. When
a couple gets married, they take an oath
to stay together no matter what, “until
death do us part.” For many, death can
seem like a better option than staying in
an unhappy marriage. But unfortunate-
ly, nationwide, approximately 50 percent
of all first marriages end in divorce. There
are several studies that show that Illinois has a lower divorce rate than most states, but Cook
County still averages approximately 30,000 divorce filings annually. However, Illinois ranks among the top states for di- vorce fees, with cases averaging approximately $13,000 and costing upwards of $35,000 or more if children are involved and if the parties are contentious with custodial issues and their finances. Hence, when you have made that decision to get divorced, you need to make sure the fight is worth fight- ing.
Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, so it does not matter if one party was unfaithful or just a complete jerk, the dissolu- tion of marriage is focused on principles of equity and fair- ness, and decisions regarding children are made with their best interests in mind and not those of the parents. Illinois is also a community property state, meaning that all assets and debts accumulated during the marriage are part of the “marital estate” and, by law, should be divided equally be- tween the partners, regardless of which partner brought the
particular asset or debt into the marriage.
The stark reality is, when a couple gets divorced, a func-
tioning, two-income family supporting one household suddenly has to support two households, so there is going to be a financial sting. This problem is com- pounded when only one of the partners in the mar- riage works outside the home, which is often true in CPD households. Despite many myths that are cir- culating, first responders do not have a higher divorce rate than the national average. However, police work does involve unique stresses and strains on marriages that other
marriages don’t face.
One of the main issues police officers face when going
through a divorce has to do with custodial issues and par- enting time. Police officers face unique issues when trying to establish regular parenting time, with the rotating schedules, 12-hour shifts and the cancellation of days off. It requires a great deal of flexibility on the part of the divorcing parents to commit to maintaining stability for their children and mak- ing sure they have regular contact with both parents.
Other common issues involve officers’ pensions and de- ferred compensation accounts. Because Illinois is a commu- nity property, no-fault divorce state, the spouses of police of- ficers have a right to half the pension that accrued during the marriage (and corresponding annuity) upon the member’s retirement, as well as half of any deferred compensation or other retirement accounts. Of course, this is not unique to police officers, and the principles of equity apply to both
  The Law Firm of Grace & Thompson Specializes in Representing Chicago Police Officers
 James E. Thompson, Partner
Timothy M. Grace, Partner
We pride ourselves in maintaining a small-firm feel by treating each case with care and consideration.
Seasoned trial attorneys representing Chicago Police Officers in matters before the Chicago Police Board, Internal Affairs, COPA, Inspector General, and Civil and Criminal Courts.
The Law Firm of Grace & Thompson also provides professional legal services in other areas:
• Personal Injury
• Divorce
• Criminal and Civil Defense Litigation
 Contact us today for a free consultation! 312-943-0600 •
311 W. Superior Street, Suite 215 • Chicago, IL 60654

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