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630-575-8585

2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

Top Chicago Area Divorce Lawyers
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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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Cook County high-conflict divorce lawyer

While all divorces involve at least some degree of hostility, a high-conflict divorce is especially contentious. Child psychiatrist Dr. Mark Banschick calls high-conflict divorces “malignant divorces” because of the stress and emotional burdens these splits can incur. If you are a parent who is getting divorced, and you have a combative relationship with your spouse, you probably worry about how this conflict will affect your child. There is no perfect way to help your child cope through a high-conflict divorce, but experts do have suggestions for how to minimize your child’s emotional trauma during a difficult divorce.  

Have Adult Conversations Away from the Children

Experts agree that children can be deeply disturbed by parental conflict and fighting. The best way to minimize your child’s trauma during divorce is to keep adult conversations away from your child as much as possible. Studies show that when children watch or overhear their parents fighting, they are more likely to have behavioral and emotional problems. Working with a skilled mediator may be one way to keep divorce-related discussions compartmentalized, but this is not always a possibility during a high-conflict divorce. If possible, take divorce-related phone calls in another room and avoid “bad-mouthing” the other parent in front of your child.

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Western Springs child support attorney

If your marriage is coming to an end because your spouse cheated on you, you may wonder how this could affect the divorce process. Illinois is a “pure no-fault” state, which means that there are no fault-based grounds for legally terminating your matrimonial union. If you and your spouse are getting divorced in Illinois, you will simply list “irreconcilable differences” as to the reason that you are seeking a divorce. However, marital infidelity can still affect your divorce proceedings in several important ways.

Assets Wasted During an Affair Can Constitute Dissipation

Illinois law prohibits courts from considering cheating or other types of marital misconduct when making property division, child support, or spousal maintenance decisions. However, there are several exceptions to this rule. According to the Illinois Supreme Court, “dissipation” occurs when a spouse uses marital funds or property “for a purpose unrelated to the marriage” while the marriage is “undergoing an irretrievable breakdown." Dissipated assets can include money spent on gifts or vacations for a secret lover, property which was sold in order to fund the affair, or other assets which were used to benefit the paramour. If you and your legal counsel can prove that your spouse dissipated assets, you may receive a proportionately larger share of the marital property in the divorce.

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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.

630-575-8585

2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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