Tag Archives: DuPage County alimony lawyer

IL divorce lawyerPeople going through a divorce have to think about the many different terms they will have to sort through, whether it is during mediation meetings or through litigation. One of the most common terms that comes up during a divorce case is spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance is shrouded in many myths and misconceptions, so if you are going through a divorce, it is important to understand the truth behind this common term. To help with this, below are some of the most common questions about spousal maintenance, and the answers to them.

Are Spousal Maintenance and Alimony the Same Thing?

Yes. Although the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act uses the term ‘spousal maintenance’ when talking about payments one spouse will make to the other after divorce, it has the same purpose as alimony.

Does the Lower-Earning Spouse Always Receive Spousal Maintenance?

No. Getting a divorce does not automatically give the lower-earning spouse the right to spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance is awarded when a judge deems that it is appropriate for a specific situation and orders one spouse to make payments to the other following the divorce. A judge will consider 13 specific factors when determining whether to award spousal maintenance. These include the age, health, needs, vocational skills, and income, as well as the length of the marriage, and the parent that has custody of the children.

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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 attorneyIf 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.

Maintenance Has Nothing to Do with Gender

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.

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IL divorce lawyerAlimony, also referred to as spousal support or maintenance, is often a point of contention amongst spouses who are going through a divorce. The paying spouse may feel like they are being asked to give more than they can afford or more than what their husband or wife deserves or needs, and the receiving spouse probably feels the opposite. As the lower-earning spouse, they might have given up their own goals to support the career of their spouse or to be a homemaker or primary caregiver for their children. Now that divorce is imminent, they have financial needs that they cannot meet on their own. Contrary to popular belief, permanent alimony is rarely awarded. Alimony is usually temporary and comes in the form as bridge the gap alimony, which helps keep the lower-earning spouse afloat during divorce, or rehabilitative alimony.

What Rehabilitative Alimony Is Used For

Rehabilitative alimony is awarded at a set amount for a period of time long enough for the lower-earning spouse to complete a bachelor’s or advanced degree or finish up specific job training. It can be used for tuition, books, non-college educational or training classes, vocational training, and other expenses such as food, rent or mortgage, and other expenses that the spouse would normally have during this period of ”rehabilitation.”

Alimony Is Awarded to Provide a Lower Earning Spouse The Means to Self Sufficiency

One of the general goals of alimony is to provide the lower-earning spouse the ability to support the lifestyle they grew accustomed to during the course of the marriage. There are a variety of reasons that the lower-earning spouse might struggle to support themselves in the months or years after the marriage is dissolved. These include the following:

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IL divorce lawyerThe new tax law that went into effect at the start of 2019 harms women in a variety of ways. From lower spousal support payments to higher taxes due to children not qualifying as a deductible, the so-called “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” can have serious consequences for women and men getting divorced in 2019, and those who are planning to modify an agreement as well.

Alimony Is No Longer a Tax-Free For the Payee

Under the new tax rules, spousal support is no longer tax-deductible for the spouse who pays it. While the new law gets rid of the rule that made alimony as taxable income for the lower-earning spouse, the fact that it is not tax-deductible for the paying spouse means that there is overall less money for the lower-earning spouse.

Tax Deductions for Having Children

Tax exemptions reduce a spouse’s taxable income. The previous tax law included a $4,050 exemption for each dependent, which the new tax law has entirely eliminated. This means that many single mothers will have a taxable income equivalent to $4,050 more than in years past, which can have serious negative consequences. For a mother with two children, her taxable income will now be $8,100 greater. On the other hand, the child tax credit was doubled from $1,000 to $2,000 under the new law, and more families will now qualify because the income thresholds have been significantly reduced. To qualify for the child tax credit, the child must have lived with that parent for at least half of the year. While a parent can now receive up to twice the amount as before under the new law, the significant increase in taxable income due to child tax deductions means that many single mothers may have to stretch the budget even diligently.

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