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2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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DuPage County divorce attorney spousal maintenance

The wish to share your life with a romantic partner is human nature. After you decide to file for divorce, you may be eager to find a boyfriend or girlfriend who can become the loving partner you wished your soon-to-be ex-spouse would have been. You may have even decided to end your marriage because you met someone else. While the desire to date before a divorce is finalized is understandable, dating during divorce can negatively impact the outcome of your divorce in several different ways.

Legal Implications of Dating During Divorce

You may be shocked to learn that adultery is technically a misdemeanor criminal offense in Illinois. Of course, it is almost never prosecuted and the chances of a person being convicted of adultery are nearly zero. However, dating before the completion of your divorce can have significant civil consequences.

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Western Spring divorce attorney spousal maintenance

Leaving the workforce to become a full-time mother or father can be a huge advantage to your children as well as a risky career move. When you first decided to stay home with your children, you probably made the choice because it was in your children’s best interests. You placed your own professional goals on hold for the betterment of your family and trusted that your spouse’s income would sustain you. Now that you are facing the end of your marriage, you may have major concerns about the financial consequences brought on by the impending divorce. Fortunately, Illinois law provides several options that may help mitigate the negative financial effects of divorce for homemakers and stay-at-home mothers and fathers.

Non-Financial Contributions Are Considered 

Spousal maintenance refers to payments that the spouse with a higher income makes to the spouse with the lower income after divorce. If you and your spouse have already reached an agreement about maintenance through a valid prenuptial agreement, the court will likely uphold this agreement. If you do not have a marital agreement addressing maintenance, you have the right to petition the court for spousal maintenance. When deciding whether or not to award maintenance or alimony to a spouse, Illinois courts consider each spouse’s income and property, in addition to his or her needs. They also take into account any impairment to a spouse’s present and future earning capacity caused by child care obligations. The amount and duration of spousal maintenance is usually determined by statutory formula. If the combined yearly income of the spouses is greater than $500,000, the courts may deviate from the statutory formulas.

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Burr Ridge divorce attorney spousal maintenance

Spousal maintenance, also called spousal support or alimony, can be a valuable source of financial support following a divorce. However, the order for spousal maintenance may become inappropriate if either party’s financial circumstances change dramatically. If you are currently paying spousal support to your ex-spouse or you are the recipient of maintenance payments, you may have questions about how and when a spousal maintenance order can be changed. Illinois courts only grant spousal support modifications if certain qualifying criteria are met.  

Alimony May Be Modified if There is a Substantial Change in Circumstances  

A spousal maintenance obligation typically terminates if the party receiving maintenance remarries or if either party passes away. If the receiving party is cohabitating with a romantic partner in a marriage-like relationship, the paying party may petition the court to have his or her maintenance obligation terminated. Illinois courts may modify the amount or duration of spousal maintenance if there is a “substantial change in circumstances.” When determining whether or not to grant a spousal maintenance modification, courts will consider factors such as:

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Western Springs divorce attorney collaborative law

Collaborative divorce is a process during which divorcing spouses, their attorneys, and other relevant professionals work together to reach an agreement about unresolved divorce issues. When spouses use collaborative law to settle the terms of their divorce, they avoid stressful courtroom litigation while still benefiting from their lawyers’ legal guidance and protection. Collaborative divorce may be right for you if you and your spouse do not see eye to eye regarding the terms of your divorce but you are willing to negotiate these issues amicably and cooperatively. The collaborative law process may help you and your spouse reach an agreement about the division of marital assets, child custody, spousal maintenance, and more.

What Happens During a Collaborative Law Divorce?

If you choose to use collaborative law to settle your divorce, you and your spouse will each hire your own attorney. Before you meet as a group, you and your lawyer will meet to discuss what you would like to achieve in the settlement as well as any concerns you may have. Next, the spouses and their respective lawyers will sign a “Participation Agreement” in which they agree to freely exchange information, negotiate in good faith, and cooperate in the collaborative divorce process. The spouses and attorneys will then hold a series of meetings aimed at reaching a resolution. Other professionals such as financial advisors, accountants, and child specialists may also participate in the collaborative divorce process.

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Hinsdale spousal support attorney for divorce over 50

You may be surprised to learn that although the overall divorce rate is declining in the United States, divorce among spouses over age 50 has dramatically increased. Research shows that the rate at which older adults get divorced in this country has doubled since the 1990s. This may be due to increasing life spans, a reduction in the stigma associated with divorce, or simply because older adults want to enjoy their retirement years on their own terms. Whatever the reason, if you are over age 50 and considering a so-called “gray divorce,” you should know that it may involve unique challenges and obstacles. It is very possible that either you or your spouse will be entitled to spousal support payments. For help with maintenance-related concerns and much more, speak with an experienced family law attorney.

Spousal Maintenance in Illinois

Spousal maintenance, also known as spousal support or alimony, refers to financial payments that a higher-earning spouse makes to the lesser-earning spouse after divorce. While it is not appropriate in every situation, it may be necessary in a gray divorce, especially if one spouse has been out of the workforce for many years and would struggle to support themselves without assistance from their former partner. 

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Western Springs spousal maintenance attorney

The end of a marriage not only brings dramatic personal changes but also considerable financial consequences. If you are considering divorce, you may wonder how spousal maintenance, also referred to as spousal support or alimony, is handled in Illinois. Maintenance payments can be a significant expense for the payor spouse and a significant source of financial support for the recipient spouse. Disputes about the terms of spousal maintenance can be contentious. That is why it is essential that you seek guidance from an experienced divorce attorney in order to understand how this type of support is calculated and your rights regarding these benefits.

When Is Spousal Maintenance Awarded?

If spouses had previously signed a marital agreement such as a prenup that contains directions regarding spousal maintenance, the court will typically uphold these directions. However, there are many issues that may cause a prenuptial agreement to be declared invalid, such as if it was signed under coercion or it contained fraudulent information about assets.

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Hinsdale divorce mediation attorney

When a couple decides to divorce, there are a number of issues that the spouses must agree upon before the divorce can be finalized. The spouses will need to determine how the marital estate will be divided, whether or not the lesser earning spouse will receive spousal maintenance (alimony), and how issues related to the allocation of parental responsibility (child custody) and child support will be handled. It can be very hard for divorcing spouses to reach an agreement about these and other terms of the divorce without help. One way that many divorcing couples are able to resolve divorce-related disagreements without the need for court litigation is through mediation.

How Does Mediation Help?

Divorcing spouses may be required to attend family law mediation by the court, or the couple may decide to attend mediation voluntarily. During this process, the spouses meet with a specially trained mediator who helps them identify the unresolved divorce issues, facilitates productive negotiation about these issues, and works with the spouses to find mutually agreeable resolutions. Spouses who reach an agreement about divorce issues through mediation are much more likely to comply with the terms of their final divorce decree than spouses who are subject to divorce terms determined by the court. Furthermore, mediation is much less antagonistic than litigation. Divorcing spouses who share children together often find mediation to be especially useful, because it encourages an amicable co-parenting relationship in the future.

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Oak Brook prenuptial agreement attorney

Research shows that prenuptial agreements, or “prenups,” are becoming increasingly popular – especially for the millennial generation. Many millennials are getting married later in life compared to their parents or grandparents. They may already own a home, a small business, or have other substantial assets by the time they tie the knot. They may also have accumulated significant debts, such as student loans. A prenuptial agreement is a great way for couples of any age to define and protect their financial rights in the event that their marriage ends in divorce. If you are considering creating a prenuptial agreement, it is essential to know the common mistakes that can make this important legal document invalid.

Financial Transparency Is a Requirement

A prenuptial agreement mainly deals with financial issues such as property or asset division and spousal maintenance (alimony). In order for a couple to come to a resolution about the details of their prenup, they must both fully disclose all of their assets, income, and debts. If a spouse lies about his or her finances, then the terms contained in the prenuptial agreement are based on misinformation. If the couple does end up filing for divorce, and it is determined that the prenuptial agreement was founded upon false financial information, the document may not be legally enforceable.

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Western Springs divorce attorney

The Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory lists divorce as the second-most stressful experience a person can endure. You may be surprised to learn that according to the inventory, the end of a marriage is considered to be more stressful than being fired from your job, the death of a close friend, and even experiencing a major injury or illness. If you are considering divorce, you know just how mentally taxing it can be. Fortunately, many people are able to build a post-divorce life that is much happier and more serene than they could have imagined. Because the divorce process can be so trying, it is essential that you make your mental well-being a priority during this time. The following tips can help you address the difficulties you may experience during your divorce.

Allow Yourself to Grieve the End of Your Marriage 

Some people assume that if they are the party who initiated the divorce, then they have no reason to be sad about the end of their marriage. This is simply not true. It is completely normal to feel sad and disappointed about your divorce -- even if the split was your idea. You may have had hopes and dreams of what you wanted your marriage to be, and you may be deeply upset that you were unable to meet these expectations. Regardless of why your marriage is ending, give yourself time to grieve this loss, and do your best to avoid bottling up your emotions. Many mental health experts suggest that writing your feelings down in a journal can help you work through these emotions and heal.

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DuPage County spousal maintenance attorney

In some divorce and separation cases, a higher-earning spouse is required to make payments to a lesser-earning spouse. These payments are called spousal maintenance under Illinois law, but they are also commonly referred to as spousal support or alimony. There are a variety of reasons that a spouse may be required to make these types of payments. Spousal maintenance arrangements may be stipulated in the couple’s prenuptial agreement, or a large discrepancy in the spouses’ assets and incomes may necessitate maintenance. Whether you are the payor or the recipient of spousal support, you may be wondering how long maintenance payments will be mandated. Like most family law concerns, the answer will depend on several factors.

Spousal Maintenance Duration

If the spouses have signed a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that specifies the terms of spousal maintenance, the court will typically uphold these terms. If the spouses did not have an agreement dictating spousal maintenance arrangements, the court will consider factors such as the spouses’ income, assets, employability, health, impairment to future earning capacity, and other elements to determine whether maintenance is appropriate. Typically, spousal maintenance is intended to give a lesser-earning spouse time to gain the skills and education needed to become self-supporting, and it can also ensure that a person is able to maintain the standard of living they enjoyed during their marriage.

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Burr Ridge gray divorce attorney

Although the overall divorce rate in the United States has been declining, there is one demographic that is experiencing a major increase with regard to the number of couples getting divorced. Interestingly, the divorce rate for adults over age 50 has doubled in the last few decades. Getting divorced after age 50, referred to as “gray divorce,” can be much more complicated than divorcing at a younger age. If you are considering ending your marriage, and you are nearing retirement age, there are certain considerations you should keep in mind.

Property Division During a “Gray Divorce” Can Be Complex

Older couples typically own higher-value and more complex assets than younger couples do. Assets like businesses, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, investments, and social security benefits can be difficult to value and divide. Retirement accounts are usually considered a marital asset, which is subject to division under Illinois equitable distribution laws during a divorce. However, funds accumulated in an IRA, 401(k), or pension before a couple got married may be considered non-marital and therefore not subject to division. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to get a court order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), which dictates how retirement account funds are divided between divorcing spouses.

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Burr Ridge high-asset divorce attorney

The divorce experience is different for everyone. A young couple who does not have children, own a home, or have valuable assets may be able to get a divorce relatively quickly and effortlessly. The more assets you own and the more complex those assets are, the more likely it is that you will have a complicated divorce. If you are planning to end your marriage, and you and your spouse have a high net worth, own complex assets, or have high-value assets, your divorce may involve more negotiations. There is much more at stake in a high asset divorce, so it is crucial for couples in this situation to be informed about the unique issues presented by a high asset or complex asset divorce.

Child Support and Spousal Maintenance Payments Are Usually Much Larger

Illinois child support orders are decided using the “Income Shares” method. This approach involves evaluating each spouse’s income, determining the total amount of support for which the parents are collectively responsible, and then splitting the cost between the spouses in proportion to their incomes. Similar to property division, the spouses’ financial circumstances must be fully understood before a child support order can be entered by the court.

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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.

630-575-8585

2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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