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Posted on in Alimony

Arlington Heights family law attorneyIn the wake of a divorce, spousal support payments, also known as spousal maintenance or alimony, can help both spouses maintain a lifestyle that is similar to the one that they were accustomed to as a married couple. The payments are common when one spouse makes a larger income, has greater earning potential, or has more assets than the other. However, spousal support payments can last for years after the divorce, with their length depending on the length of the marriage. 

In the years after a divorce, circumstances can change for both spouses and the initial order may need to be revisited. There are various grounds upon which a spouse can petition the court to grant a modification. The Law Offices of Donald J. Cosley has experience representing spouses on both sides of the support issue and can make sure that you are receiving or paying your fair share after a change in the life of you or your ex-spouse. 

What Changes Qualify for a Modification? 

Both the spouse who is paying and the spouse who is receiving spousal support can request a modification. The modification request can be made in response to a change in your circumstances, or in the circumstances of the other spouse, which could impact the payments. Some examples of qualifying changes include:

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Illinois spousal support lawyerThe financial impact of divorce can often be just as devastating as the personal impact of the split. Many divorcing individuals worry about how they will make ends meet after they are no longer marred. This is often especially true for stay-at-home parents or spouses who have been out of the workforce for a long time. If you are getting divorced, you may wonder if you can get alimony, or as it is called in Illinois, spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance can be a valuable source of financial assistance after a divorce, however, this support is not guaranteed. Read on to learn how a divorcing spouse can pursue financial support in the form of spousal maintenance in an Illinois divorce.

When Can a Divorcing Spouse Get Spousal Maintenance?

Alimony or spousal maintenance is not automatically granted in a divorce. There are two main ways that a spouse may receive maintenance payments: an agreement between the divorcing spouses or a court order. If you and your spouse do not already have a prenuptial agreement or other agreement entitling you to maintenance, you can petition the court for maintenance.

How Do Courts Decide Who Gets Maintenance Payments in a Divorce?

Courts award maintenance on a case-by-case basis. Many different elements play into the court’s decision, including:

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Rolling Meadows prenuptial agreement attorneyGetting a divorce can be an extremely difficult process, as it requires you to make a number of important decisions, often while coping with intense emotions of distress. However, it is possible to make the divorce process easier by planning some of these decisions in advance. A prenuptial agreement can be a useful tool especially when it comes to decisions regarding property and finances.

Elements of an Illinois Prenuptial Agreement

If you and your partner intend to get married, a prenuptial agreement can help you start the marriage with a clear understanding of each of your interests and rights regarding property and assets. While it may be hard to broach the subject at first, it is important to do so, especially if one or both of you already have significant assets.

Getting a prenuptial agreement does not necessarily mean that you expect to get a divorce at some point, but you can use it to clarify how certain aspects of a potential divorce would proceed. For example:

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Posted on in Alimony

maintenance, Rolling Meadows divorce attorneysAs you navigate the process of divorce, you and your soon-to-be ex will have a large number of issues to consider. You will need to think about which of you will get what property, arrangements for your children, and how you will deal with life after divorce. For many couples, the issue of spousal maintenance, or alimony, can be particularly complex, as it is often difficult to “put a price” on your ending marriage. While you may be content to place such decisions in the hands of the court, you also have the option of creating your own maintenance agreement that meets the needs of both parties and avoids messy litigation.

Communicate and Cooperate

While divorce is rarely, if ever, easy, an increasing number of couples are approaching the matter with a cooperative spirit. In many cases, both spouses have reached the conclusion that continuing the marriage is no longer healthy or in their best interests, but still care about each other and do not want to create additional, unnecessary problems. With an attitude such as this, you and your spouse are likely to be able reach an agreement regarding spousal maintenance quickly, and without acrimony.

During the discussion, it is important to be candid about your financial situation and your needs. You should also expect the same from your spouse. Together, you may come to the realization that maintenance payments are not really necessary or will be necessary for only short time. Alternatively, you may decide, depending on your own circumstances, that maintenance is reasonable for the foreseeable future. Be sure to include avenues of revisiting your agreement, however, as situations can change over time, sometimes drastically.

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maintenance, Rolling Meadows divorce attorneysIf you are divorced, you may have been ordered to pay your spouse spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance, also called spousal support or alimony, is designed to help subsidize a financially-disadvantaged spouse after a divorce. For example, a stay-at-home parent who forgoes work outside the home to care for children is left at a serious disadvantage after divorce. Reentering the work force can be difficult or impossible after such a long absence. Depending on the health, employability, and life circumstances of an individual awarded spousal support, the support may be ordered to last indefinitely. Other times, support is only ordered temporarily.

There are several ways in which spousal maintenance obligations terminate or are available for modification. If you want to stop or modify court-ordered spousal support payments, it may be helpful to learn about Illinois spousal maintenance laws.

Spousal Support Automatically Ends in Some Circumstances

Illinois courts automatically terminate spousal support in some situations. If the recipient spouse passes away, for example, maintenance payments are terminated. Payer spouses are also not required to continue making support payments if the recipient spouse is cohabitating with another person as “de facto husband and wife.” Cohabitation is usually considered to mean that the individuals are living together, sharing finances, and generally behaving as a married couple. If the recipient spouse remarries, the payer spouse is no longer required to make support payments. If you find out that your ex-spouse is cohabitating or has remarried, you can file a motion with the county court to have your spousal support requirement terminated.

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