IL divorce lawyerIn many Illinois divorce cases, one spouse has significantly greater income and assets than the other. This can make it difficult to reach a fair resolution through the division of property alone, especially if it will be challenging for the other spouse to support themself for quite some time. In these cases, the court will often award spousal maintenance, commonly known as alimony or spousal support. However, maintenance orders come in several different forms, and you should be sure to understand the type of maintenance order, if any, that is likely to apply to your case.

How Do Illinois Courts Award Spousal Support?

If you and your spouse reach an agreement regarding maintenance, or if the court decides that maintenance is necessary, payments may be structured in a variety of ways. These are the most common types of maintenance orders that you should be aware of:

  • Temporary maintenance is sometimes ordered before the divorce is finalized to support a spouse in need throughout the divorce process. The appropriate amount is determined on a case-by-case basis using information from a financial affidavit filed by the spouse seeking maintenance. Any spousal maintenance included in the final divorce resolution will be determined separately.
  • Fixed-term maintenance requires one spouse to make regular payments to the other for a defined time period, usually based on a calculation that factors in the length of the marriage. The amount is typically determined based on each spouse’s income.
  • Lump-sum maintenance is sometimes awarded as an alternative to fixed-term maintenance. Rather than spreading out the payments over time, one spouse will pay the other the entire amount upfront. This is usually only possible when the paying spouse has substantial resources available.
  • Reviewable maintenance is similar to fixed-term maintenance, except that the court will designate a date upon which the order will be reviewed to determine whether it should continue or be modified or terminated, perhaps contingent on the receiving spouse’s attempts to become self-sufficient.
  • Indefinite maintenance requires regular, ongoing payments with no end date. It is typically only granted when the spouses were married for 20 years or longer, or when the receiving spouse has extraordinary needs.

You should note that fixed-term, reviewable, and indefinite maintenance orders can be modified after a substantial change in either spouse’s circumstances. Additionally, a maintenance order will terminate if either spouse dies, or if the receiving spouse remarries or moves in with a new partner.

Contact a Kane County Spousal Maintenance Lawyer

At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we can help you understand whether spousal support is a likely factor in your divorce case, and we will advise you regarding a reasonable payment structure to pursue. Contact us at 630-584-5550 to schedule a free consultation with one of our St. Charles, IL divorce attorneys.

 

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IL divorce lawyerDivorce can bring about complicated financial questions. One issue that many divorcing individuals have questions about is alimony. Alimony or spousal support is referred to as spousal maintenance in Illinois law. Often, spousal maintenance is used to help a spouse who is financially dependent on the other spouse transition into being financially self-supporting after a divorce. In some situations, spousal maintenance is permanent. If you earn a higher income than your spouse or your spouse does not work outside the home, it is possible that you will be required to pay maintenance.

When is Spousal Maintenance Awarded in Illinois?

If you and your spouse signed a prenuptial agreement that requires you to pay spousal maintenance following divorce, the court will most likely uphold this requirement. However, if there are issues that invalidate the prenuptial agreement, the maintenance agreement may not be legally binding. If you have not agreed to pay maintenance through a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement, the court has discretion when it comes to ordering maintenance. If your spouse files a petition for spousal maintenance, the court will consider a range of factors to determine if maintenance is appropriate. The court will look at:

  • The income, assets, expenses, employability, and future earning capacity of both spouses
  • Each spouse’s financial needs
  • The duration of the marriage and the standard of living established during the marriage
  • Any damage to the future earning capacity of the spouse seeking alimony caused by domestic or childcare duties
  • Contributions that a spouse made to the progression of the other spouse’s career or education
  • Whether the spouse requesting alimony can become self-supporting
  • The spouses’ age and health

Fighting a Request for Alimony

You are not required to pay alimony simply because you earn a higher income than your spouse. However, it is possible that your spouse will present a good argument for receiving maintenance to the court. Some spouses even exaggerate or outright lie when making a spousal maintenance request. If you suspect that your spouse will petition the court for spousal maintenance during your divorce, it is crucial that you work with an attorney who is familiar with Illinois spousal maintenance laws. Your attorney will help ensure that your rights are protected and that you are not forced to pay an unjustified amount of alimony.

Contact a St. Charles Alimony Lawyer

Alimony or spousal maintenance is typically awarded when a spouse is unable to support themselves financially after a divorce. For help with a range of spousal maintenance concerns, contact an Illinois divorce attorney at Shaw Family Law, P.C. Call our office at 630-584-5550 to set up a free consultation today.

 

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IL divorce lawyerOne of the biggest concerns people have when considering divorce is how the split might affect their finances. Not only will getting a divorce result in the loss of your spouse’s income and/or nonfinancial contributions to your household, you may also be expected to pay child support or spousal support. Illinois spousal support payments are calculated using a number of factors, but the obligor’s income is typically the most influential factor. Before support payments can be calculated, the obligor’s income must be defined.

Determining Illinois Spousal Support Payment Amounts

There are a few different ways that a divorcing spouse may be obligated to pay spousal maintenance. If the spouses had previously signed a valid prenuptial agreement that dictates a spouse’s maintenance obligations, the court will typically uphold the directions contained in the agreement. Spouses may also be required to pay spousal support if there is a large discrepancy in the spouses’ income and assets. The standard of living established during the marriage, each spouse’s health and age, any impairment to the recipient spouse’s future earning capacity, and several other factors are also assessed during spousal maintenance determinations.

According to Illinois statutory guidelines, spousal maintenance is calculated by subtracting 25 percent of the recipient’s net income from 33.3 percent of the obligor’s net income. However, spousal support payments cannot exceed 40 percent of the spouses’ combined net income. It should be noted that in some cases, the court will deviate from these statutory guidelines.

What Is Considered “Net Income?”

If your financial situation is not straightforward, you have multiple sources of income, own your own business, or have other special circumstances, you may wonder exactly how income will be calculated for spousal maintenance payments. The Income Withholding for Support Act and The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act define income for the purpose of spousal support calculations. Typically, net income is calculated by taking gross income and subtracting:

  • Federal and state income tax
  • Self-employment tax
  • Social Security
  • Certain medical expenses
  • Retirement contributions required by law or as a requirement of employment‍
  • Costs associated with repayment of business debt
  • Child support payments from a previous relationship
  • Prior spousal support obligations

Other expenses may also be subtracted from gross income in order to determine net income depending on the circumstances.

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IL divorce lawyerIf you are planning to divorce and there is a discrepancy between you and your spouse’s financial circumstances, you or your spouse may be required to pay spousal support. Also called alimony or spousal maintenance, spousal support is typically designed to supplement a lesser-earning spouse’s income until he or she can obtain the skills or education needed to gain appropriate employment. The amount and duration of spousal support payments depend on a wide range of factors and vary from case to case. Spousal support payments are often temporary, but in some cases, permanent spousal support is ordered.

Illinois Laws Regarding Spousal Support

Some spouses are required to pay spousal support after a divorce because of provisions in their prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement. If you and your spouse have previously agreed on a spousal support arrangement in a marital agreement and the court finds that agreement valid, you will be expected to comply with the agreed-upon terms. If no such agreement exists, you and your spouse may negotiate a spousal support arrangement or the court will determine a fair spousal support order. The court will consider you and your spouse’s age, health, income, assets, employability, contributions to the marital estate, and other information in order to determine whether or not spousal support is appropriate.

Ending a Spousal Support Obligation

The majority of Illinois spousal support orders are intended to be rehabilitative in nature. The support payments are only ordered to last the length of time that the recipient needs to become financially independent. In these situations, a spouse’s support obligation ends automatically based on the court order. However, when a marriage of twenty years or more ends, the court may award permanent spousal support or support for a period of time equal to the duration of the marriage.

Spousal support payments may also end if the recipient spouse remarries or starts cohabitating with a romantic partner in a marriage-like relationship. It is the responsibility of the paying spouse to petition the court for termination of spousal support if the reason for the termination is cohabitation. If you or your spouse have experienced a major change in circumstances, you can also petition the court to modify or terminate your spousal support obligation.

Contact an Aurora Spousal Maintenance Lawyer

If you are considering divorce, you may have questions about whether you or your spouse will be awarded alimony. For help establishing spousal support, modifying or terminating an existing spousal support order, and other support-related concerns, contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. Schedule a consultation with an experienced Kane County divorce attorney from our firm by calling 630-584-5550 today.

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IL family lawyerSpousal maintenance, also referred to as spousal support or alimony, can help a lesser-earning spouse avoid being at a serious financial disadvantage after getting divorced. When a married couple divorces in Illinois, it is not guaranteed that a spouse will be required to pay spousal maintenance to the other. Whether or not a spouse receives spousal support and the amount and duration of payments are based on a variety of circumstances.

Spouses Can Decide on Alimony Arrangements in a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement

One way that a spouse can receive spousal maintenance is if the spouses have previously signed a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement that dictates what spousal maintenance arrangements will be if the couple divorces. For example, if a spouse plans to sacrifice educational and career opportunities to be a homemaker or stay-at-home-parent, the spouse may want to ensure his or her right to adequate spousal maintenance if the marriage ends. A prenuptial agreement, or “prenup,” allows spouses to make decisions about the amount and duration of maintenance payments in advance. However, it is essential that prenuptial agreements meet the criteria required by Illinois law. If a prenup is signed under duress, contains extremely unfair provisions, or otherwise does not meet the guidelines set forth in the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA), it may not be legally enforceable. It is always a good idea to have an experienced family law attorney review any marital agreements to ensure that they are valid.

Spousal Maintenance May be Ordered by the Court

If a spouse requests spousal maintenance during divorce proceedings, the court will consider a wide range of factors to make spousal maintenance determinations. These factors include but are not limited to:

  • How long the marriage lasted and the standard of living established in the marriage
  • The spouses’ age and health
  • The spouses’ property, income, and employability
  • Any impairment to the present or future earning capacity of the spouse pursuing maintenance caused by time spent as a homemaker or parent
  • The amount of time needed for the spouse seeking maintenance to acquire the training, education, and employment to become self-supporting

Spousal maintenance is most often temporary and designed to give a spouse time to become financially independent. However, in some situations, such as when a marriage lasted twenty years or more, maintenance payments may be permanent. Maintenance payments terminate when the recipient spouse remarries.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

There are many factors that influence whether or not a spouse will receive alimony. If you are planning to end your marriage and have spousal maintenance-related concerns, a qualified St. Charles family law attorney can help you understand your legal options. Call Shaw Family Law, P.C. today at 630-584-5550 to schedule a free consultation.

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