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unallocated support, St. Charles divorce attorneysIn most cases, child support and spousal maintenance are two separate payments ordered payable to one spouse during a divorce. There are certain occasions, however, where they may be combined as one payment. This most often occurs for tax purposes, but it can happen in other situations, depending upon the specific facts of your case.

How It Works

Unallocated support is the term used when the same person pays both child support and maintenance in one combined payment instead of two. This is not something that a court can order in Illinois, though it will generally abide by the agreement of the spouses to handle support issues this way. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that the court may not order unallocated support “in any dissolution judgment or in any post-dissolution order,” unless the spouses agree beforehand.

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life insurance, Kane County family law attorneyThere are many different types of life insurance policies available to provide a level of financial security for your loved ones. While the type of policy you choose should be based on your needs and those of your family, the intended result of each is similar: upon your death, your chosen beneficiaries will receive the proceeds of the policy, known as death benefits. Life insurance can be instrumental in protecting your family from financial hardship in the event of an accident or unforeseen tragedy, but, in a divorce situation, it can also serve another purpose. By agreement or by order of the court, a life insurance policy may be used to guarantee payment of spousal maintenance and child support.

Spousal Maintenance Security

Unless otherwise addressed, a party’s obligation to pay spousal support ends upon the death of either party. Of course, if you have been ordered to make maintenance payments, your untimely death could leave your ex-spouse in dire financial circumstances. There are several life insurance options available to prevent such a situation. If you already have a life insurance policy, the court may order that a percentage of the available death benefits should be allocated to your former spouse. In doing so, the court may also divide responsibility for making the premium payments.

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withholding, Kane County family law attorneysA judgment last week by a Cook County judge may be the largest child support-related decision in the history of Illinois. Judge Bonita Coleman issued a ruling against a Herscher car dealership for intentionally failing to withhold wages from an employee who had been ordered to make child support payments. The dealership must now pay $2.3 million in penalties, an amount that nearly doubles the previous high of $1.2 million upheld in 2007 by the Illinois Supreme Court.

Income Withholding

In Illinois, along with the rest of the country, the easiest and most common way to make child support payments is through payroll deduction. The paying parent provides a copy of the support requirement to his or her employer, and the employer sends the appropriate amount to the State Disbursement Unit every month. The supporting parent, then, does not need to worry about missed payments or mailing a check; the system is virtually automatic.

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spousal maintenance, alimony, St. Charles divorce lawyersWhen a marriage comes to an end, both spouses often find themselves in challenging financial situations. In many cases, however, one spouse is frequently more economically disadvantaged, having relied the other spouse’s income throughout much of the marriage. Spousal maintenance, sometimes known as alimony, may provide some measure of relief to a person in such a situation, and the state of Illinois has rather specific guidelines that family courts are expected to follow in awarding support. Is Maintenance Needed? The first step in the process, according the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, is determining whether a spousal maintenance award is truly necessary. To do so, and assuming there is not a valid agreement between the divorcing parties, the court will take a close look at the circumstances of the marriage and divorce. Factors including the health, occupation, and income of each spouse, along with each party’s contribution to the other’s earning capacity, arrangements made for the children, the length of the marriage, and many others must be considered in making the decision. If the court finds that support is appropriate, it must then calculate the amount to be paid and the intended length of the award. Amount of a Spousal Maintenance Award For couples with a combined income of more than $250,000 and those with specific complicating factors, the court has full discretion over the length and amount of spousal support. Otherwise, the court is expected to use the formulas provided by the statute. The amount of maintenance to be paid, according to the law, should be 30 percent of the payor’s gross income minus 20 percent of the payee’s gross income. The maintenance amount, however, added to the payee’s income may not exceed 40 percent of the couple’s combined income. Duration of a Spousal Maintenance Award To determine how long the order will remain in force, the law provides a sliding percentage scale based on the length of the marriage. Longer marriages result in relatively longer maintenance orders.  The length of the marriage is multiplied by the appropriate percentage factor to establish the duration. Percentages are set by the statute as:
  • 20 percent for marriages of up to 5 years;
  • 40 percent for marriages of 5 to 10 years;
  • 60 percent for marriages of 10 to 15 years;
  • 80 percent for marriages of 15 to 20 years; and
  • Permanent maintenance or equal to the length of the marriage for marriages of 20 years or more.
Illustrative Example Husband, making $100,000 per year, and Wife, making $50,000 are getting divorced after ten years of marriage and maintenance was found to be appropriate. The calculations would be as follows:

30 percent of the payor's income:     $100,000 x 30% =  $30,000   minus

20 percent of the payee's income:     $50,000 x 20% =  $10,000

equals:                                                                                   $20,000,   however,

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