Tag Archives: Spousal Support

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 lawyerMany of the laws surrounding divorce can seem complicated, unnecessary, poorly thought-out, or just plain wrong depending on your side of the argument. For example, disability benefits can be garnished to pay alimony or child support. For some, this may seem like an unfair demand or request. On the other hand, the receiving spouse may rely on that money to make rent or pay for their child’s healthcare expenses. An experienced Hinsdale divorce attorney can help explain how disability benefits can and cannot be divided during divorce.

Does Social Security Disability Income Get Split as a Marital Asset?

Over 10 million Americans rely on Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), with the vast majority of those people being disabled workers. If you are receiving SSDI benefits through your own work record and health condition, your disability benefits will not be altered during divorce in regards to division of marital assets. Similarly, if you were receiving SSDI benefits as a spouse to the person with a disability, your spousal SSDI benefits will not be affected unless you were married for fewer than 10 years.

How Do Child Support and Alimony Affect SSDI Benefits?

SSDI benefits can be garnished for child support or spousal support if those court-ordered payments are not being provided in a timely fashion to the receiving spouse. Whether you are the party with the condition or you are the party that is receiving SSDI benefits as a former spouse, your SSDI payments can be redirected to the other party to ensure that support orders are fulfilled.

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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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IL divorce lawyerMost divorces take a number of months to finalize—six months to a year is common. During this time, one of the spouses typically moves out of the house, as continuing to live together is too much strain on the couple as well as the children. During this time, temporary orders of custody and support can be provided by the court. One of the most important and useful court orders is temporary alimony, referred to as bridge the gap alimony. This money helps the lower-earning spouse pay bills and expenses during the divorce process.

Bridge the Gap Alimony Can Pay for Rent

If the lower-earning spouse moves out of the home, they either have to rely on family and friends to house them, or they will be forced to rent an apartment or house. The average Hinsdale apartment, which is just 1,100 square feet, comes with a price tag of $1,400 per month in rent. A larger apartment or house can easily double that cost. The median rental cost (including houses) in Hinsdale is $3,500. Bridge the gap spousal support can help the lower earning spouse afford to pay rent for a suitable house or apartment that matches the lifestyle that they have grown accustomed to during the marriage.

Similarly, bridge the gap alimony can be used to pay for the mortgage if the higher-earning spouse does not jointly own the property in which the lower-earning spouse is living. The wealth of each spouse weighs heavily on all alimony decisions. If the higher-earning spouse is much wealthier than the lower-earning spouse, a court may find it reasonable for the higher earning spouse to cover the mortgage during divorce with bridge the gap alimony.

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IL divorce lawyerIf your divorce finalized on or before December 31, 2018, anyone paying alimony can claim spousal maintenance expenses to receive a tax deduction. Additionally, the recipient of the alimony will declare their payments as taxable income. However, new laws swept the nation affecting divorce judgments and modifications as of January 1, 2019. Here is how the new rules will affect you.

The Party Making Payments

If you finished signing the divorce settlement last year, the new tax laws do not pertain to you. Anyone just tying up the loose ends of their divorce or making modifications this year need to know that, going forward, any alimony paid is no longer tax-deductible.

How much you spend is also different with new calculation guidelines. Previously, maintenance payments were calculated by subtracting 20% of the recipient’s gross income from 30% of the gross income of the payor, capping out at 40% of the total combined gross income of both parties. One new change uses net income rather than the previous gross income standard. Today, a spousal maintenance payment is calculated by subtracting 25% of the recipient’s net income from 33.33% of the payor’s net income.

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