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st. charles divorce lawyerDivorce can be hard on a couple no matter their income level. In fact, a couple with a high net worth can face some of the most difficult complications when it comes to the financial aspects of divorce like the division of assets and spousal maintenance. If you are ending a marriage in which one spouse was the primary earner, there is a good chance that spousal support will be a factor in your divorce resolution. It is important to understand how this issue is handled in Illinois family court, as well as the options you may have for reaching an agreement.

Spousal Maintenance Decisions in an Illinois Divorce

There are a number of situations in which spousal maintenance may be necessary to ensure a fair resolution to a high-asset divorce. One common example is a situation in which one spouse did not work but instead relied entirely on the other spouse’s income and assets. In a case such as this, a high-earning spouse may want to retain full ownership of high-value businesses and real estate properties, which can lead to an even greater financial disparity. Spousal maintenance may be the best option to ensure that the other spouse can support themself after the divorce.

According to Illinois law, another possible reason for spousal support is to help a spouse maintain the standard of living they have become accustomed to during the marriage. In a high-asset divorce, even a spouse who works and earns their own income may have a case for maintenance if the other spouse has significantly greater income and assets.

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St. Charles divorce attorney spousal maintenance

In Illinois, spousal support or maintenance is not a guaranteed part of all divorce orders; rather, it is generally only ordered if one spouse has a financial need and there is an imbalance in income and assets between the two parties. As a result, it can often be a contentious part of the divorce process, as the two parties may have different ideas as to whether a spousal support order is justified. This contention may continue even after the divorce is finalized as both parties’ circumstances change. If you have been ordered to pay spousal support and you believe that you should no longer have to do so, you may have legal options to pursue the modification or termination of the spousal support order.

Reasons to Modify a Spousal Maintenance Order

You should know that it is usually not possible to stop paying spousal support simply because you are angry or upset with your ex-spouse. Rather, you will need to demonstrate to the court that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that justifies a reduction to your obligation. Possible reasons for a modification include:

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St. Charles divorce attorney spousal support

Infidelity on the part of one or both spouses is one of the most common reasons for a marriage to fail. If your spouse has been unfaithful and you are unable to work through it together, a divorce may be imminent, and it is reasonable to wonder how the infidelity might affect the divorce process. The answer may surprise you, but it can also help you prepare more effectively for your divorce.

Infidelity Is Not a Legal Reason for Divorce in Illinois 

Though a spouse’s unfaithfulness may be a major contributing factor, or even the most important factor, in your personal decision to get a divorce, Illinois is a no-fault divorce state in which irreconcilable differences are the only legally recognized grounds for divorce. This means that an unfaithful spouse will not be held responsible for causing the divorce, and the infidelity will not be considered by the court in any decisions regarding the division of property, spousal support, or the allocation of parental responsibilities. However, this does not necessarily mean that infidelity will have no impact whatsoever on the way your divorce proceeds.

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St. Charles divorce lawyerSpousal support, also known as maintenance or alimony, is often an important element of an Illinois divorce resolution, especially for stay-at-home parents and anyone with significantly lower income or earning potential than their spouse. However, it can also be a major point of contention if your ex is resentful about having to pay support, and arguments can last well after the divorce is finalized if he or she fails to make the required payments on time. If your former spouse is regularly late in making payments that you rely on, you should work with an attorney who can help you pursue enforcement.

Spousal Support Enforcement in Illinois

The terms of a divorce agreement filed in court are legally binding, so as long as the original agreement includes a spousal support order, you have the option to pursue legal enforcement after your ex’s late payments. In some cases, it may be best to notify your former spouse in advance that you intend to pursue legal action, as this on its own may be enough to convince him or her to make the required payments.

However, if your ex still fails to pay despite your best efforts, your attorney can help you file a Petition for Rule to Show Cause asserting that your ex-spouse has failed to follow a court order. Your petition should clearly identify the terms of the divorce agreement that your former spouse has violated, and you should be prepared to present evidence of the failure to pay, including your financial statements and records of communication with your ex.

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Kane County divorce lawyersWhether you have been married two years or 20 and are now going through the process of divorce, you should be aware of how that divorce will impact how you file your taxes going forward. Unfortunately, filing your taxes will not go back to the way it was before you were married, when you filed as single and only had a W-2, or maybe two of them. Much is changing and knowing what to expect the first time you file taxes after your divorce can make the process easier.

Determining Your Filing Status

Your filing status will be based on your marital status as of December 31st of the filing year. If you are filing your taxes for the 2018 year, then you would file as single if your divorce was final on or before the last day of the year. 

There are other factors to consider, such as who is deemed the custodial parent. The custodial parent, because they usually have the children for a larger percentage of the time, can claim Head of Household. This filing status is helpful in many ways.

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St. Charles Spousal Support Lawyer

If you are currently receiving maintenance payments, also known as spousal support or alimony, you must notify the payor if you remarry or move in with a romantic partner. Illinois law requires you to notify the payor of your intention to remarry at least 30 days prior to the wedding, unless the wedding occurs spontaneously, in which case you must notify the payor within 72 hours of the wedding. 

Unless your divorce order states otherwise, the obligation to make future maintenance payments ends on the date of your remarriage or on the date on which cohabitation began as determined by the court. If maintenance was paid to you after such date, you must reimburse the payor for those amounts. 

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St. Charles Divorce Attorney

Before you finalize your Illinois divorce settlement, consider this: Will you and your children be financially protected if your ex-spouse dies prematurely? Under Illinois law, the obligation to pay spousal support, aka maintenance or alimony, terminates upon the death of either spouse unless otherwise agreed in your divorce settlement. Child support obligations, however, are not terminated by a parent’s death. The court may order a deceased parent’s estate to pay child support and college expenses

Child Support After a Parent’s Death

Per 750 ILCS 5/510(d), “the amount of [child] support or [post-secondary] educational expenses, or both, may be enforced, modified, revoked or commuted to a lump sum payment, as equity may require, and that determination may be provided for at the time of the dissolution of the marriage or thereafter.” To ensure your children’s financial security and your own peace of mind, you can ask for your child support order to specify how child support will be paid out of a parent’s estate in the event of death. Keep in mind that both parents have an obligation to support their children financially, so this determination should be made for both parents.

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