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If you are like other men facing an inevitable divorce, you are likely dealing with a lot of frustration and confusion. Divorce can be a slow and painful process, or it can happen so fast you are not sure how it even came up. Many men assume a lot of things about divorce – whether true or not – simply because of rumors and a lifetime of hearing horror stories about their fathers, uncles, workmates, and others who have been allegedly “fleeced” or “taken to the cleaners” by their ex-wives. With so many stereotypes and myths out there, men tend to enter the process already assuming the worst and thinking their situation is hopeless. The good news is, with proper representation, a solid plan, and the determination to make legally sound choices, most men come through divorce just fine.
One area where men are most confused is the subject of alimony (“maintenance,” as it is called in Illinois). If you are truly concerned about how much maintenance you may have to pay or you feel that your wife should be paying maintenance, definitely consider talking to a Hinsdale divorce lawyer today. But before you let your wife’s attorney convince you to sign something waiving alimony, consider this.
It seems most people intuitively already know this, but the myths and stereotypes are just so powerful. But it is true. There is no statute, no regulation, no jury instruction, and not a single court decision in modern times that says men must pay maintenance or that women should not. It is simply not part of the equation. To be sure, there is nothing in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act at 750 ILCS 5/457 that mentions which gender should receive or pay maintenance.
In recent years, there has been a tremendous push to equalize the inequities in male and female pay. In rural areas in America, the pay gap between men and women is often quite dramatic, given a higher ration of stay-at-home mothers. While in urban areas, many women are finding higher pay in sectors that previously were almost entirely male-dominated, such as tech and engineering. Therefore, more women are starting to out-earn their spouses, especially where the female in the relationship is in a high-demand field or an urban area like Chicago.
At the moment of your divorce, the court must take a metaphorical snapshot of your lives. How much do you make right now? If you are in a slump, between jobs, just opened a business, or are recovering from health problems, and your wife is actively employed, making more than you, do not discount maintenance altogether. Just consider how much you have come to rely on the second, higher income. What will the loss of that income do to your quality of life? The older you are, the more this should be a consideration.
The right time to talk with a skilled DuPage County family law attorney is now before you sign anything or agree to waive any potential rights. It may seem unusual to consider the thought of an ex-spouse paying you maintenance, but until you really discuss your situation with a skilled attorney, you will never know. Contact the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio at 630-920-8855 to schedule a free initial consultation to review your situation.