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Why Life Insurance Should Be Part of Your Illinois Divorce Settlement

Posted on in Illinois Divorce

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.

Even if a parent owing child support dies with no assets, a child will not be completely without support. When a parent dies before the child reaches age 18, the child is eligible for a Social Security benefit based on the deceased parents’ earnings. A child can get up to 75 percent of the deceased parent’s basic Social Security benefit. For 2019, the average monthly benefit is $1,461, and 75 percent of that would be $1,096. That amount may or may not be enough to replace your child support payments. 

Maintenance (Alimony) After A Former Spouse’s Death

Per 750 ILCS 5/510(c), “the obligation to pay future maintenance is terminated upon the death of either party” unless otherwise provided in a written agreement. 

Per 750 ILCS 5/504(f), maintenance may be secured in whole or in part by life insurance on the payor’s life. Divorcing spouses may make whatever agreement they wish with regard to the amount of the life insurance benefit and who pays for it.

If the parties cannot agree, the court will determine if maintenance should be secured by life insurance. If the payor has an existing life insurance policy, the court may allocate death benefits to the payee (the recipient of maintenance) and divide the obligation for future premium payments between the parties as the court deems just. If the court orders that maintenance should be secured by a new life insurance policy, the payee will have the sole responsibility to pay for it and the payor will be ordered to cooperate with any steps necessary for the payee to obtain the insurance. 

Consult an Accomplished St. Charles Divorce Lawyer

If you are concerned about the possibility of losing child support or spousal support (maintenance) payments, consult a knowledgeable St. Charles divorce lawyer to discuss how life insurance can be used to provide security in the event of the untimely death of your ex.  Call Weiler & Lengle P.C. at 630-382-8050. 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=6000000&SeqEnd=8300000

https://www.forbes.com/sites/catherineschnaubelt/2019/04/29/insurance-issues-to-consider-in-a-divorce/#59939c93b5d1

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