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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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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