Category Archives: Family Law

IL divorce lawyerMany people who get divorced end up remarrying, or at least finding a new partner and moving in with them. In 40 percent of marriages, at least one spouse has already been married at some point. Spouses who receive alimony need to carefully consider remarriage or new relationships, as they will likely be wiping out their future spousal support payments. In Illinois, the legal obligation of the paying spouse ends when the receiving spouse gets married or begins living permanently with a new partner. A DuPage County family law attorney can help give you more information whether you are the paying or the receiving spouse.

What Types of Spousal Support Are There?

Alimony, which is also called spousal support or maintenance, is a financial payment made from a higher earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse during the divorce process or after the marriage has been dissolved. There are many types of alimony, described below:

  • Lump Sum Alimony—One large payment, not to be repeated
  • Rehabilitative Alimony—Financial support used for vocational training or education
  • Reimbursement Alimony—Payment used to reimburse the lower-earning spouse for expenditures they made during the marriage
  • Bridge the Gap Alimony—Spousal support that is awarded during the divorce process, used to provide the lower-earning spouse the means necessary to continue living the lifestyle they grew accustomed to during the marriage
  • Permanent Alimony—Permanent maintenance payments, usually made monthly
  • Temporary Alimony—Spousal support that has a predetermined end date. Many of the previously described types of alimony are temporary.

Temporary and permanent spousal support is affected by remarriage or cohabitation. Alimony that was already paid, be it a lump sum or monthly allotments, does not need to be paid back after remarrying, except for payments made after the receiving spouse remarried or entered a cohabitation relationship.

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Il divorce lawyerChild support is awarded during divorce, or when no marriage occurred between two parents, based on the following criteria:

  • Child’s needs, including education, medical, food and clothing, and other necessities
  • Child’s financial resources
  • Each parent’s income
  • Each parent’s other financial resources
  • Child’s standard of living during the marriage
  • Number of children the couple has together

When a court makes a decision about child support, that support order is rarely set in stone. If the divorce occurred when the child was seven, there is a very small chance that the order will not be modified over the next decade as the child grows to 18, and then goes to college. Modification orders can be made every few years, or “upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances,” according to 750 ILCS 5 Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. A substantial change in circumstances may constitute any of the following examples:

  • The paying parent gets a large raise.
  • The custodial parent loses their job.
  • The paying parent gets in a major accident.
  • The child begins attending private school.
  • The child reaches an age when he or she no longer requires child care.
  • The custodial parent has access to significantly more financial resources.

Modifying Child Support

Generally, remarrying does not have any effect on child support modification—after all, it is only the financial obligation of each parent to pay for their child’s needs. However, in a few rare cases, courts have sided with the paying parent’s argument that, because of a new spouse’s finances, the custodial parent had increased access to this shared financial resource. It could be argued that a spouse who remarries may be able to tap into the finances of his or her new spouse, using these resources to pay for food, clothing, housing, insurance, and education for their child.

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IL divorce lawyerThere are around 5,000 marriages per year in DuPage County, and there are almost half as many divorces annually, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. The first step of divorce begins with what is called the petition for divorce. The petition for divorce is served by one spouse to the other. The spouse that serves the petition to the other is called the petitioner. First, they must file papers with the court, after which they are required to legally deliver, or serve, the petition to the other spouse.

What Information Does the Petition Include?

The petition for divorce generally includes all of the following information:

  • Location of marriage
  • Date of marriage
  • Names and addresses of the spouses
  • Names of children
  • Grounds for divorce
  • Statement that at least one spouse has had residency in the state for at least 90 days, allowing the divorce to take place in Illinois, as per 750 ILCS 5/401
  • Information about how the petitioner wants to settle matters such as division of marital assets, child custody, child support, and alimony

Temporary Orders

A petition for divorce may request the court to place temporary orders to help with the following:

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IL divorce lawyerMarriages often struggle because of a lack of communication, mutual goals, and intimacy. Financial stress, unrealistic expectations, and constant arguing are other top causes of divorce, yet sometimes these difficulties can be worked on to save the marriage before it is too late. In other circumstances, the marriage may be beyond repair. One study showed that the most common major contributors to divorce were lack of commitment, infidelity, and conflict or arguing, while the most common reasons for being the “final straw” were infidelity, domestic violence, and substance use.

Infidelity

Being cheated on is possibly the ultimate sign of disrespect in marriage. Illinois does not recognize “fault” in marriage, and infidelity generally has no bearing on decisions such as division of assets, child custody, or support orders. However, infidelity is the “final straw” in many marriages that were already struggling, as there is no way to trust that spouse again in the future.

Being in an Abusive Relationship or the Victim of Domestic Violence

Whether one spouse is physically, emotionally, or psychologically abusive, it is almost a certainty that the victim’s best option is to find a divorce attorney as soon as possible Reporting abuse to law enforcement for a restraining order may also be a necessary step to getting out of the abusive marriage. Common types of spousal abuse include the following:

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IL divorce lawyerPrenuptial agreements can be used for a variety of marital reasons, and one of those reasons is for debt protection. The average American has more than $38,000 of debt, and this does not even take into account home mortgages. Millions of Americans are so deep underwater on their mortgages and other loan payments that they are will likely end up being in debt until the day that they die.

Surprisingly, Americans are taking on more debt each and every year, despite knowing the consequences. Credit card debt is now tied with home mortgage debt, followed by student loans and car loans. The later comes as little surprise when the average new car price tag comes in at more than $37,000. The last thing that you want to do when you marry the love of your life is to begin worrying about your spouse’s high debt and financial troubles. After all, financial turmoil is one of the most common stress points in marriage.

Will a Prenuptial Agreement Protect Me from My Spouse’s Debt?

Debt acquired before marriage is not the legal burden of the other spouse. If your soon-to-be-spouse has a $40,000 in student loans, you will not suddenly be responsible for that debt when you marry. Similarly, if your spouse fails to make timely payments on that debt, your credit score will not suffer as a result. However, if you are a co-signer with your spouse onto a credit card or other type of loan, you will be held financially responsible for that debt, even if you end up not doing any of the spending.

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