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Posted on in Spousal Support

Lombard family law attorneyWhen a married couple divorces, the court may award spousal support to one of the spouses. Spousal support is sometimes referred to as alimony or spousal maintenance. It refers to payments that one spouse makes to the other in order to help them financially post-divorce. Spousal support can be based on a court decision, a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement. Maintenance is not always awarded in Illinois. In some cases, both spouses are self-supporting so there is no need for financial assistance. Even if there is a substantial difference in income between the two spouses, courts may account for this difference by awarding more of the marital property to the lower-earning spouse.

Who Gets Spousal Support?

Illinois courts have wide discretion in determining if spousal support will be awarded or not, how much payments will be, and for how long payments will occur. The court must consider the following factors in making decisions about spousal support:

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Lombard family law attorneySpousal support—also known as alimony or maintenance—is found to be appropriate in many divorce cases, and is usually paid to the spouse with lower income. The situation may change, however, when the paying spouse reaches retirement age. It can prevent confusion and lost time if you and your former spouse do your research before retirement becomes an issue.

A “Substantial Change in Circumstances?”

Depending on your situation, the paying party may seek to have their support responsibility reduced or even terminated upon retirement. However, it is not as easy as simply petitioning the court and expecting your request to be approved. As with other requests of this nature, you must be able to present evidence showing that your current support responsibility is unreasonable or excessive in light of the reality of your retirement and the resulting financial effects.

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Lombard family law attorneysIf you are planning on filing for divorce and either you or your spouse are at a distinct financial disadvantage, the lower- or non-earning spouse may be entitled to spousal support. What exactly does this mean for your case? The following can help you understand the basics of spousal support (alimony).

When Is Spousal Support Awarded?

Spousal support is known in Illinois law as maintenance and can be awarded to any financially disadvantaged spouse. It may be needed because the wife worked as the sole or primary income earner and the husband stayed home with the children, which puts him at a disadvantage after the divorce. Alternatively, it may be awarded to a wife who has sacrificed her own education or career to advance the high-powered career of her husband. It may even be needed if one spouse became unable to work because of health issues. Whatever the situation may be, the purpose of spousal support is always the same: it is meant to temporarily or permanently offset the financial disadvantage of the lesser- or non-earning spouse may experience after divorce.

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spousal support, Lombard family law attorneyWhen a couple with children gets divorced, there is a presumption that one parent—usually the one with few parental responsibilities—will be expected to pay child support. There is no such presumption in Illinois regarding spousal support, sometimes known as spousal maintenance or alimony. Instead, spousal support is awarded on a case-by-case basis, upon establishment by the court of a spouse’s need. Once the need has been determined and spousal maintenance has been deemed appropriate, the court is then tasked with determining how much the supporting spouse is required to pay and for how long.

Statutory Standards

Prior to 2015, the court was granted full discretion to set the amount and duration of spousal support orders. As one might expect, this led to vast disparities between orders issued by different judges, who were guided by their principles of what seemed fair and constituted meeting a spouse’s needs. Beginning in 2015, however, a new law was enacted that provided a standard calculation formula to be used in the majority of divorce cases in Illinois. The statutory formula will apply in your case if you and your spouse together do not make more than $250,000 per year, and you, as the payor, are not currently supporting children or a spouse from a previous relationship.

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maintenance, illinois law, Kane County divorce attorneyCertain aspects of divorce under Illinois law are relatively black-and-white. For example, virtually every divorcing spouse is entitled to an equitable share of the couple’s marital property, just like every child is assumed to have the right to financial support from both parents. Other aspects, however, can be more accurately described as falling into much more of a gray area, with ample room for court discretion and subjective considerations. Among the most prominent of these is spousal maintenance, which has long been a source of uncertainty and confusion for many divorcing couples.

Understanding the Purpose of Maintenance

It is important to realize that there no presumed right to spousal maintenance, sometimes called alimony, in the state of Illinois. Instead, it can be ordered by the court based on the examination of the circumstances of a marriage and divorce. Maintenance is intended to limit the extent to which a spouse will be financially disadvantaged by the end of her marriage. While a court may award a man spousal maintenance under the law, more than 95 percent of individuals receiving alimony are women. Decisions about support, though, are not always left to the courts.

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fixed-term maintenance, spousal support, Illinois divorce attorneyWhen a marriage comes to an end through divorce, one spouse may be at a significant financial disadvantage. In many cases, this spouse may have taken on other roles within the marital relationship, such as primary caregiver for the couple’s children, while financially contributing less. After divorce, a disadvantaged spouse will often need to find new ways to support him- or herself, and spousal maintenance laws are designed to help him or her do so when applicable. Recent changes to the law, however, may allow a court to place limits on spousal support by utilizing fixed-term maintenance in certain situations.

The provisions for fixed-term maintenance went into effect on January 1, 2015, along with a number of other amendments to the Illinois spousal maintenance statute. While the new formula for standardized calculations has been previously discussed in detail, many Illinois residents may be unaware of the court’s option for marriages lasting less than ten years.

The new law does provide guidelines for determining a spousal support order, but it also includes language allowing the court to deviate from them. Additionally, there is nothing in the law that specifically prevents a spouse from repeatedly requesting an extension of support payments, based on the circumstances of the situation. Such a request may not always be granted, but under the provisions in the law, extensions may be possible.

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Lombard family law attorney, spousal maintenance, new laws, spousal support

Each year in Illinois, hundreds of measures are enacted into law at the state level, addressing issues from across the political spectrum. On January 1, 2015, more than 200 new laws or amendments went into effect across Illinois. Of these new statutes, Public Act 98-0961 is likely to impact those who may be considering divorce in the near future as it amended the existing law regarding spousal maintenance.

The amended law was passed in August of last year and was scheduled to take effect in 2015, just in time for the start of "divorce season." As the courts prepare for a renewed rush of divorce filings between January and March, couples and divorce attorneys should be aware of how the amendment may affect their individual situations. While the court retains discretion over determining the appropriateness of spousal maintenance, or alimony, the formula with which the amount and duration of the award is calculated has now been standardized.

Amount of Spousal Maintenance

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Posted on in Divorce

spousal support, alimony, spousal maintenance, Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois divorce attorneyUnder the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, an ex-spouse may be entitled to spousal support. Under section 504 of the law, it states, ". . . the court may grant a temporary or permanent maintenance award for either spouse in amounts and for periods of time as the court deems just, without regard to marital misconduct, in gross or for fixed or indefinite periods of time. . ."

There are several factors a judge looks at in deciding whether or not to grant spousal support. Some of the criteria include the following:
  • The length of the marriage;
  • The present and future earning capacity of the spouses;
  • The standard of living the parties had while married;
  • The length of time it will take for the spouse seeking spousal support to obtain training and establish themselves professionally; and
  • Any prior agreement the couple may have had.
In rare circumstances, a permanent spousal support (spousal maintenance) order is granted. When granting a maintenance order, a judge will usually set a time limit on how long the payments will be received. Depending on how long the order will be in effect, the law also allows for periodic review and/or modification if needed. Certain circumstances will put an end to spousal support payments if they occur before the deadline decided by the judge. The death of either spouse automatically stops all maintenance. Remarriage of the spouse receiving the payments also puts an end to the support. As outlined in the statute, "the party receiving maintenance cohabits with another person on a resident, continuing conjugal basis," is not as black and white as death and remarriage. In many cases, the spouse receiving the spousal support doesn’t volunteer that they are living with someone, nor do they admit they are when pressed by the spouse who is paying the support. Instead, the spouse making the payments has to provide proof to present to the court. There are certain key signs that point to cohabitation. Financial interdependencies between the ex-spouse and their significant other can help build a strong case to stop support payments. Do they share a home, food, utility bills and household responsibilities? Also look at how close they are as a couple and how they present themselves to the public, including involvement with each other’s children. If you were ordered to make spousal support payments in your divorce, but suspect that your ex-spouse is cohabitating with someone else, contact an experienced Lombard family law attorney to find out what steps you may be able to take to have the support order stopped.

Posted on in Divorce

In any relationship, there can be ups and downs.  Being in close proximity, such as in a marriage, can exacerbate a volatile situation.  It is difficult to seek a resolution in the heat of the moment.  Certain scenarios may mean that separation is merely a precursor to finalizing a divorce or it can be a start to reconciliation.

There are different types of separation, each of which has specific ramifications.  The first type is just living separately.  Living apart can mean in different houses or even separate parts of the mutual home.  Debts and assets accrued by either party during this kind of separation are considered part of the marital estate.  During a divorce all property and debts are divided according to equitable distribution guidelines of Illinois divorce court.  This can also be seen as a trial separation to decide whether to reconcile or separate completely.

Another kind of separation is called a legal separation.  This is for couples who have irreconcilable differences but may not want to divorce for religious reasons.  A legal separation is filed for in a divorce court.  The court will decide on issues like child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, visitation and division of property.  The only aspect that a legal separation does not achieve is a divorce.  Both spouses are still married.

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Starting a business is a very arduous task.  For a long time, there is no end to the struggles to bring services or goods to consumers and finding your marketplace.  Time and resources are spent to make a business a success and a divorce can tear it asunder.

A marriage is a contractual agreement that states that each spouse is entitled to jointly gained assets.  This is essentially the difference between separate property and marital property.  In some cases, a spouse can expect nearly half of a business after a divorce as determined by length of marriage, involvement in the business, and the spouse’s earning potential after a divorce.

If either spouse has spent their time creating a valuable asset such as a business, it is essential to know how to protect it, most likely through a prenuptial agreement or other business agreements.  A prenuptial agreement serves as an outline of the outcome of an unforeseen dissolution.  It will delineate the property and asset distribution and also for the protection of a business.  But like most contracts it needs to meet certain criteria to be considered valid by the divorce court.

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Dennis Rodman was known as a rebounding machine before he joined the Chicago Bulls in 1995.  While he played for the Bulls, he won three titles alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.  His personal life was considerably wild; he was notorious for his "bad boy" persona and willingness to act outlandish both on and off the court.  He ever showed up to a book signing in a wedding dress and claimed he was marrying himself in 1996.

In 1999, Rodman met Michelle Moyer who he had two children with in 2000 and 2001.  They were married on his 42nd birthday in 2003.  There union was tenuous, as Michelle filed for divorce in 2004 yet the couple spent years trying to reconcile.  During that time, Rodman had multiple issues with alcohol and spousal abuse.  The divorce was finalized earlier in 2012.  At that time, Michelle claimed that Dennis owed back child and spousal support.

On Thursday, December 6th, Rodman was found in contempt of court and ordered to pay $500,000 in back child support to Michelle.  Rodman claimed that he unintentionally paid too little which is why he didn&t receive any jail time or community service.  They agreed to this sum outside of court, although Michelle’s lawyer argued in court that the figure totaled to be around $850,000.  He was also informed that he could face jail time if he does not pay the back child support.

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Posted on in Divorce

Given the poor economic climate of the United States, a new study funded by Ohio State University makes a lot of sense.  As people are losing their jobs and drowning in credit card debt, it is hard to swallow paying for a divorce.  Most people try to separate before making a life-changing decision like divorce, but some people just stay separated.

"Long-term separation seems to be the low-cost, do-it-yourself alternative to divorce for many disadvantaged couples," said Dmitry Tumin, co-author of the study and a student studying sociology at Ohio State University. "Separation may not be their first choice, but they may feel it is their best choice."  Tumin compiled the research for this study with the help of sociology professor Zhenchao Qian.  They used data from over 7,000 people across the country who have been surveyed every couple of years since 1974.

80% of the people who went through a marital separation ultimately filed for divorce within three years.  A much smaller percent, around 5%, tried to reconcile their estranged relationships, of which half were successful.  The remaining 15% of separations neither reconciled nor divorced within 10 years of the initial split. They chose instead to remain legally married yet they live apart from each other.  The data suggested that these people were generally racial and ethnic minorities, have low education levels and income, and have young children.

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