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Spousal Maintenance and the Division of Marital Property

 Posted on September 11, 2018 in Division of Property

DuPage County family law lawyersFinancial and property considerations can be a very complicated part of the divorce process. It is often difficult to determine who should get what and how much is fair based on the specific circumstances of the case. For many couples, the concepts of dividing marital assets and spousal maintenance might seem like two, very separate ideas. In reality, they are often very closely related, and in many cases, decisions regarding one directly affects the other.

Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance, or alimony as it is sometimes called, is intended to help a financially-disadvantaged spouse ease some of the economic impact of a divorce and a post-divorce life. To determine if maintenance is needed, in the absence of an agreement between the spouses, the court must take into account a number of factors regarding the marriage and divorce. These include each spouse’s income and needs, as well as their contributions to the marriage and toward the earning capacity of the other. The court will also consider the length of the marriage and the standard of living that was established.

Property Division

Similarly, when the division of marital property is left to the court, the circumstances of the marriage and divorce must also be weighed carefully. The court must take into account—again—the income and needs of each spouse, as well as any claims of dissipation, which spouse wishes to remain in the marital home, and any provisions regarding the couple’s children.

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the court must also consider whether the allocation of property “is in lieu of or in addition to maintenance.” This means that the court must take a bigger-picture approach to the proceedings. As a result, the court could decide to allocate fewer marital assets to a spouse who is set to receive continuing payments of spousal maintenance. On the other hand, the court could decide not to award maintenance, and instead allocate a larger portion of the marital estate to the spouse seeking alimony.

Equitable and Just

The ultimate decision regarding property division is required by law to be equitable. This does not guarantee an equal distribution between the spouses. Instead, it recognizes that each spouse may require a greater or lesser portion of the marital estate to meet their own needs and those of their children. In much the same way, spousal maintenance is intended to be based on need instead of preconceived notions of one spouse deserving something from the other.

If you have questions about the division of marital property and how it could potentially affect a request for spousal maintenance, contact an experienced Lombard family law attorney. We will review your case and help you understand your options under the law. Call 630-426-0196 to schedule your initial consultation at A. Traub & Associates today.



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