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DuPage County spousal support lawyerIllinois courts award spousal maintenance (also known as alimony or spousal support) when a divorcing spouse requires monetary assistance based on his or her financial and employment circumstances. There are many different factors that determine whether a spouse receives support and the amount of support he or she is entitled to. If a couple has signed a valid marital agreement dictating the terms of spousal maintenance, Illinois courts will typically uphold the terms contained in the agreement. Otherwise, if a spouse wishes to receive spousal maintenance, he or she must petition the court and explain his or her need for support.  

Alimony May Be Temporary, Fixed, Reviewable, or Indefinite

The type, amount, and duration of spousal maintenance is based on the needs of the spouse seeking support, the financial resources of both spouses, and the amount of time the couple was married. There are four main categories of spousal maintenance in Illinois:

  • Temporary maintenance: Temporary maintenance is awarded to a spouse when he or she needs financial support during the divorce proceedings. An order for temporary maintenance terminates when the divorce is finalized. Spouses requiring this type of support can include a petition for temporary maintenance when they file for divorce, or they can submit a petition for temporary relief after the initial filing.

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Wheaton divorce lawyerIf you are planning to divorce, you probably have questions about alimony or spousal maintenance. There are two avenues through which maintenance is typically awarded in Illinois: a marital agreement or a court order. If you and your spouse have already decided upon a spousal maintenance arrangement through a valid prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement, you will likely be subject to the terms contained in that agreement. If no such agreement exists, you or your spouse may petition the court for a spousal maintenance order during your divorce. If you are considering divorce, it is important to know the basics of how and when spousal support is awarded in Illinois.

Is Spousal Maintenance Always Ordered During an Illinois Divorce?

Only a small number of divorce cases involve an order for spousal support. When determining whether or not a spouse is entitled to maintenance, the courts consider a variety of economic and circumstantial factors. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Each spouse’s income, assets, present earning capacity, and future earning capacity.

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DuPage County child custody attorney

Technology has changed the way we communicate with loved ones, do our jobs, and generally interact with the world. If you are getting divorced, there are several things you should keep in mind with regard to your digital life. Social media is becoming increasingly relevant in divorce cases and family law disputes. Your use of technology and the Internet may seem unrelated to your divorce at first glance, but there are many different ways that social media, smartphones, email, and other online-based services can impact the outcome of your divorce. In some cases, it can affect spousal maintenance (alimony) and the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody). 

Change Your Passwords

According to one study, 67 percent of respondents reported that they knew their spouse’s log-in credentials. Even if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are on amicable terms, it is still a good idea to change your passwords when you separate from your spouse to maintain a sense of privacy. It may also be helpful to turn off “location sharing” on applications and websites. You may be logged into your email, Facebook account, or your bank’s website on shared devices like tablets or laptops and not even realize it. It is recommended that you change passwords for:

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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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