IL divorce lawyerStay at home parents are not as common today as they once were. This can be attributed to a higher standard of living with a minimal increase in pay as well as the feminist movement and workplace equality. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18 percent of parents in 2016 spent their time at home instead of being employed. This number has not changed significantly for women; however, stay at home dads have become more common. The percentage of men who are considered “stay at home dads” rose from four to seven percent in a 25-year time period. Having one unemployed parent can be manageable while married, but can become increasingly difficult after divorce. Continue reading to learn about the different options stay at home parents have to stay afloat.

Hire an Experienced Attorney

A good divorce attorney is crucial for parents who rely on their former spouse financially. With their assistance, a parent could potentially remain financially stable living off of the divorce settlement. This includes alimony and child support payments. Alimony is another term for spousal maintenance or more specifically, money being given to the lower-earning spouse. This can be used for those who earn less money in their occupation or those who do not have a job. Alimony is determined from a variety of financial factors but can be greatly increased with an experienced attorney’s help. The amount given in child support payments can also be changed with a lawyer’s help. These payments are meant to help the parent with primary custody to ensure an equal amount of “effort” is provided by both parents.

Go Back to School

Some stay at home parents choose this life path because they never sought out higher education or the proper training they needed for their dream job. Going back to school can be stressful and overwhelming, especially for parents who have been out of school for a long period of time. Not only will getting the necessary education for your occupation make you more marketable for companies, but it can also make people feel more independent, truly giving them that post-divorce “fresh start”.

Search the Job Market

Although many stay at home parents try to avoid going back to work, it can be impossible in some cases. Spousal maintenance and child support do not always add up to a fully functioning lifestyle. Going back to work can seem stressful; however, it is usually not as difficult as one thinks it will be. Digital job boards and quick internet searches have made job searches much faster and simpler.

Contact a St. Charles, IL Family Attorney for Assistance

Divorce is a major lifestyle change no matter the familial circumstances though stay at home parents may have to make the most adjustments. Working with an experienced stay at home divorce attorney can often help improve your financial compensation post-divorce. If you are a stay at home parent considering divorce, contact our Kane County divorce attorneys at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.

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Illinois divorce lawyerUnder some states’ laws, individuals may waive their right to seek spousal maintenance in their divorces. When an individual or couple chooses to waive this right, they typically include it in their prenuptial agreement. Illinois is not one of these states. In Illinois, spousal maintenance is a right just like child support is a right. However, there are limits to this right. Unless the couple agrees to it, a judge cannot order unallocated spousal maintenance after their divorce. In other words, a judge must include a specific dollar figure in a couple’s spousal maintenance order.

How Is Spousal Maintenance Determined in Illinois?

On January 1, 2015, Illinois’ current spousal maintenance law went into effect. This formula replaced the older way of determining spousal maintenance, which was a set of factors that courts could consider at their discretion to determine an appropriate maintenance amount and period of time over which it would be paid. Now, spousal maintenance is calculated according to a formula that takes both partners’ gross incomes and specific percentages of each to determine an appropriate maintenance amount, not unlike Illinois’ child support formula. The spousal maintenance formula is as follows:

Thirty percent of the higher earning spouse’s annual income minus 20 percent of the lower-earning spouse’s annual income equals the annual maintenance amount.

This formula is not applied to all cases. When a couple’s combined income is $250,000 per year or higher, the court may deviate from the formula to determine an appropriate maintenance amount. If the difference between the figures for the partners used in the formula plus the recipient’s gross income is more than 40 percent of the couple’s combined income, the maintenance amount is reduced to put it at 40 percent of their combined income.

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Illinois divorce attorneyWhen one spouse chooses to leave the workforce to care for the couple’s home and children or takes on lower paying work than he or she would otherwise be able to perform in order to do so, that spouse may seek spousal maintenance, once known as alimony, as part of the couple’s divorce settlement. Spousal maintenance is designed to prevent a lower earning spouse from experiencing financial hardship following his or her divorce.

Permanent vs. Temporary Spousal Maintenance

In the past, it was far more common for one partner to stay home while the other provided the family’s sole income than it is today. Divorced individuals who stayed home during their marriages were also less frequently expected to reenter the workforce or enter it for the first time after their divorces. These individuals were frequently awarded permanent alimony, which ensured that they received support from their former partners until they remarried or their former partners died.

Today, dual-income households are the norm. Individuals who opt out of the workforce often do so with some years of working experience and may have vocational or college degrees. Because these individuals can support themselves after their divorces, they are generally awarded temporary spousal maintenance. This maintenance provides a “cushion” for the receiver, permitting him or her to complete an education or secure employment before having to financially support him- or herself completely.

There are some cases where permanent maintenance may still be awarded, such as marriages that lasted 20 years or longer or cases where the lesser earning spouse cannot realistically return to the workforce due to age or disability.

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Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois alimony attorneyAmong the many questions divorcing spouses have following a separation, questions regarding alimony, also known as spousal maintenance, tend to be a big concern. This is particularly true for stay-at-home parents or spouses who are not the main earners in the household. Taking on greater financial responsibility - or in some cases, any financial responsibility at all - can be a scary thing, especially when one spouse has become accustomed to a certain lifestyle and is suddenly thrust into a new routine.

Alimony’s Nationwide Evolution

As societal roles and career opportunities have changed for both men and women in recent decades, so have the expectations and allowances surrounding spousal maintenance. More women are working now more than ever, and the concept of stay-at-home fathers is far from new. According to Labor Department statistics, nearly three-quarters of women work. In the year 2010, 97 percent of the 400,000 people receiving alimony were women, and that trend has been a continual one.

These statistics have revealed an important fact about alimony and its place in today’s post-divorce world: It seems the majority of alimony recipients continue to be women, but most of those women are actively involved in the workforce during the time of the marriage or become employed following the divorce. As a result, states all throughout the country have been taking these factors into consideration when determining maintenance awards in court rulings.

Is Spousal Maintenance a Sure Thing?

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