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Category Archives: Family Law

IL divorce lawyerAnyone entering into a divorce should understand the many different terms associated with the process, and alimony is just one of them. Alimony, also referred to as maintenance in Illinois, is a very misunderstood aspect of divorce. Some spouses think they are entitled to it when they are not, while others never think to ask for it, yet they qualify for alimony payments. To clear up any confusion on this important aspect of divorce, the four most common questions surrounding alimony are answered below.

What is Alimony?

The term alimony refers to a monetary amount that one spouse pays to the other after divorce. In some cases, one spouse may also pay alimony during the divorce. A judge will typically award alimony to one spouse when there is a large discrepancy between the income of the two spouses or when one spouse will be left in financial hardship after the divorce. The purpose of alimony is to place each spouse in the same financial position after the divorce is finalized.

Are There Different Types of Alimony in Illinois?

A spouse is allowed under Illinois law to ask for temporary alimony when a divorce case is pending. A judge will consider the income of each spouse, any child support orders, and if the requesting spouse is in need of financial support. Temporary alimony orders are typically dissolved when the divorce is final and the judge creates a new alimony order.

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IL divorce lawyerThere is a lot to think about when you are going through a divorce. You will likely think about what your family life will look like afterward, and wonder about your own social life. While divorce does bring many changes, one that many couples do not consider is how it will affect their taxes. In Illinois, there are many tax implications that come with divorce, and below are a few of the most common.

Filing Jointly or Individually

Many people think that the minute they start talking about divorce or begin proceedings, they must file their taxes separately. That is not true. As long as the divorce was not finalized prior to December 31 of the previous year, couples can still file jointly. This is because before a judge issues a final divorce decree, a couple is still considered married in the eyes of the law.

Single or Head of Household

After a divorce is finalized, each spouse has the option to claim as single or head of household on their tax return. The option a person chooses will depend on their specific circumstances.

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IL divorce lawyerMany people are familiar with premarital agreements, also sometimes called prenups. It is understandable that couples enter into these contracts prior to marriage to protect their assets in case of divorce. However, postnuptial agreements cause a little more confusion because people often wonder why a couple would need a contract after they are already married. Below are some of the most common reasons couples create postnuptial agreements.

No Time for a Prenup

Sometimes a couple knows that they would like to create a premarital agreement prior to the wedding, but they simply run out of time. Planning a wedding takes a lot of time and sometimes, a prenup is one task that just never gets done. Or, the couple may want to protect their assets, but they also do not want to think about divorce during one of the happiest times of their life. When either of these is the case, the spouses may choose to create a postnuptial agreement once they have settled into a life together.

The Couple is Working on Reconciliation

In many cases, divorce starts to look like a very real possibility in a marriage and the spouses are not protected by a prenup. In these situations, there has been a serious breakdown of the marital relationship, but at least one spouse may want to try to work out the issues. As a condition of attempting to work things out, one spouse may want to create a postnuptial agreement first.

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IL divorce lawyerIn Illinois, a person that is having problems with their spouse and that has not engaged in misconduct during their marriage may petition the court for a legal separation. A separation is not a divorce and does not officially dissolve the marriage. It does allow the two spouses to live physically and financially independent of each other.

When a marriage is experiencing problems, at least one of the spouses may be considering divorce but, is legal separation a better answer? Like with most divorce and separation cases, it will depend on the two parties involved. However, there are some benefits of a legal separation that make it worth at least considering in many situations.

Cooler Heads May Prevail

In any marriage something that can happen that causes one spouse to become outraged with their spouse. Perhaps a spouse had an affair or refused to deal with a substance abuse problem. When this is the case, it is easy to want to pack up and leave, but that does not necessarily mean that divorce is the right answer. Sometimes, people just need some time apart to process a situation and determine what they really want to do about it. A legal separation allows this without requiring that the couple gets divorced.

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IL divorce attorneyWhen two parents get divorced it typically means that the children of that marriage will spend much less time with one of their parents. Historically speaking, the parent to lose the most time with their children has been the father. Although today, Illinois courts are not supposed to take gender into consideration when allocating parenting time, the sad fact is that many still do. The data is there to support the notion that mothers are usually awarded the most time with their children. However, a new bill has been introduced into the Illinois House of Representatives, and it may mean equal time for both parents in future divorce cases.

Minimum Parenting Time in Illinois

Most people agree that when both parents are fit to raise their child, it is in that child’s best interests to spend equal time with both parents. Unfortunately, that rarely happens in Illinois and legal authorities in the state have continued to support favoring one parent over the other.

The Illinois Family Law Study Committee has found that it is in the best interests of the child to spend at least 35 percent of weekly time with each parent when both parents have been deemed good and fit. Although the Illinois State Bar Association also publicly supports equal parenting time, they have opposed the notion of each parenting getting that amount of time. In fact, the Association does not have a minimum amount of time at all for parents that are considered fit to spend time with their children.

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