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fixed-term maintenance, alimony, Illinois family law attorneyWith all of the talk in family law circles about the new legislation slated to take effect in 2016, it bears pointing out that many are still unaware of the potential impact of a divorce-related law that has now been in effect for nearly seven months. Passed around this time last year, and effective January 1, 2015, an amendment to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, directly affected the calculating and awarding of spousal maintenance throughout the state. It also, for the first time, provided courts with an option of awarding fixed-term maintenance.

Equal Application of the Law

The main focus of the amendment was to bring a level of standardization to spousal maintenance/alimony proceedings in divorce. Prior to 2015, the law provided courts with a rudimentary list of factors to consider in awarding maintenance, but allowed the court full discretion over the amount and the length of spousal support orders. As a result, the outcome of a spousal maintenance proceeding could differ greatly depending upon the judge and how he or she determined the importance of each factor.

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Posted on in Alimony

post-divorce modification, orders, Illinois divorce attorneyWhen a marriage ends in divorce, there are a number of issues that require a couple’s consideration. The divorcing parties must address the division of marital property and assets, arrangements for any children they may have, such as custody, visitation and child support, as well as the issue of spousal maintenance or support. Many couples are able to negotiate these concerns on their own, presenting their agreement for approval, while others battle in court for weeks and months, often forcing a judge to enter a carefully considered order. Once a divorce agreement or decree is finalized, however, the story does not necessarily end there. In many cases, post-divorce modifications are required to continue addressing ever-changing life situations.

What Can Be Modified?

A divorce agreement or decree is generally based on the circumstances as they exist at the time of the divorce. This is especially true in divorces that are primarily litigated in court, as opposed to privately negotiated. A couple who is able to cooperate effectively, whether in mediation or by other means, may be able to better account for potential future changes. The court, however, is bound by law to consider the present situation and issues of fact when making decisions related to a divorce decree. Therefore, as time goes on and situations evolve, post-divorce modifications may be necessary for:

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Spousal Maintenance, Alimony, Kane County Divorce AttorneysSpousal support, also referred to as alimony, has traditionally been awarded to wives as part of a divorce settlement. However, in recent years, evolving family situations and changing social norms have started to challenge that tradition. In a survey of 1,600 family law attorneys, almost half said they had seen a sharp increase in the number of husbands seeking spousal support from their wives.

The role of spousal support is to make sure that both spouses are able to walk away from the marriage and start fresh without undue extra financial pressure on one spouse. This is especially true in marriage where one spouse was either the primary wage earner or earned substantially more than the other.

According to the law in Illinois, there are certain factors that the court will examine to decide whether or not one spouse is entitled to spousal support from the other. These factors include:

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