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Wheaton divorce lawyer spousal supportAlthough the overall divorce rate in the United States has been declining, there is one demographic that is getting divorced more now than ever before. People over age 50 are divorcing at a rate which is double what it was 30 years ago. Some of these divorces involve couples who were married for 10, 20, or even 30+ years. Deciding to get a divorce after a long marriage can be one of the hardest choices a person ever makes. Leaving the comfort of a familiar relationship to find a happier life as a single person can be understandably intimidating. In addition, spouses who divorce after a long marriage must consider issues that other couples may not need to worry about.

Adjusting to the Change May Be Emotionally Strenuous

While any divorce is going to involve a degree of emotional and psychological stress, ending a long marriage can be especially difficult. If you and your spouse have been together for many years, adjusting to life without that person can be painful – even if you are the one who initiated the separation. Experts encourage individuals going through divorce after a long marriage to consider finding additional sources of support. This may include speaking with a counselor, joining a support group, or simply reaching out to friends and family that you trust.   

You or Your Spouse May Be Entitled to Spousal Maintenance

In Illinois, alimony or spousal support is referred to as spousal maintenance. While this type of support is not awarded in every divorce, the chances of spousal maintenance being a concern in your divorce increases if the marriage lasted a long time. Maintenance is most often awarded when a spouse sacrificed their educational or career opportunities for the benefit of the marriage or family. For example, if a mother stayed home to raise the couple’s children for the last 15 years, reentering the workforce is going to be extremely difficult. The court may award the mother rehabilitative maintenance until she can gain the skills or education needed to obtain employment. In some divorce cases, especially those involving a marriage of 20 years or more, permanent spousal maintenance may be awarded.

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DuPage County divorce lawyer for tax issuesWhen going through a divorce, many people wish it was as simple as dividing everything in half and ending the marriage. However, divorce is often much more complicated, and in addition to settling issues like the division of property, couples must also consider how taxes will affect their case. Here are a few ways that taxes can complicate the decisions made during your divorce:

Taxes on Alimony Payments

Recently, the way spousal maintenance (alimony) is taxed changed significantly, although this change only applies to those who finalized their divorce on or after January 1, 2019. For these couples, the person paying alimony cannot deduct the cost of these payments from their taxable income, while the person receiving alimony will not report it as income. This may have a detrimental effect on the amount of maintenance that a person will pay. In some high net worth divorce cases, the spouse paying maintenance may be able to reduce their tax burden by creating a trust that will be used to make payments to their ex-spouse.

Taxes on Real Estate

A person who makes less money than their ex-spouse may wish to keep the family home in the divorce instead of spending more money to buy or rent a new home. However, recent changes to the tax codes could also affect this decision. State and local property taxes are no longer fully deductible from federal taxes, and this could mean that the spouse who keeps the home may not be able to afford to pay property taxes. In many cases, it can be more beneficial to sell the house during the divorce and divide the proceeds between the spouses.

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Naperville divorce and child support lawyer

Prenuptial agreements tend to get a bad reputation. A person may feel that a request to sign a prenup implies that one partner makes the majority of the money, and signing a prenuptial agreement may make it seem like a marriage is expected to end in divorce. However, a prenup does not necessarily have negative implications, and it can provide a number of benefits for a married couple. As people in the Millennial generation get older and begin to get married, they are agreeing to more prenups than previous generations. According to a study published by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 62% of attorneys surveyed have seen an increase in requests for prenuptial agreements in recent years, and 51% of attorneys said that the numbers of Millennials requesting prenups has increased. Why is this the case? There are a number of possible reasons:

A Closing Wage Gap

According to the study, more prenups are now being requested by women. This may be due to the fact that women are climbing the career ladder in their fields and making more money, and they want to be able to protect their assets. In 2018, the pay gap between the genders closed to a 4.6% difference. As more women become equal earners or the primary breadwinners in their households, prenups may be used to ensure that they will have financial protections. A prenup may also be used to protect spouses’ rights to spousal maintenance (alimony). This can be a good safety net to ensure that if a divorce happens, spouses will be able to maintain financial security.

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Considering Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) in Your Divorce

Wheaton spousal maintenance lawyerEvery divorce is completely unique in various ways, but almost all divorces come with unanticipated complications. Whether these complications include child custody, asset division, or prenuptial agreements, divorce proceedings can be long, tiring, and emotionally trying. In the vast majority of divorce cases, finances become a top priority for both parties and their legal teams, and in many cases, the biggest financial issue becomes the financial dependency of one of the spouses. 

Spousal maintenance (also known as alimony or spousal support) ensures that a spouse who earns less than their ex-partner does not suffer from financial problems in the aftermath of the divorce. A spousal maintenance plan requires a higher-earning spouse to make payments to their ex-spouse for a certain period of time following the divorce, allowing them to meet their financial needs until they can become self-sufficient.

How Spousal Maintenance Is Determined 

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Several matters can create contention in divorce, but few can spark as much fear and emotion as spousal maintenance. On the one hand, you have a spouse that feels they are entitled to support. On the other, you have a spouse that feels they either should not or cannot pay the amount of support requested. Who is correct, and how does a judge decide? The following explains, and it provides details on how you can contest a request for spousal maintenance.

Spousal Maintenance Basics

Despite the common misconception, alimony is not automatically awarded in divorce. Instead, it is determined by a judge. In making that decision, the judge may weigh and consider a variety of factors, including:

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