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modification, St. Charles family law attorneysThe purpose of divorce is to separate two peoples’ lives that have been intertwined through marriage. When two people get married, they not only combine their personal lives but also their financial lives. In order to divide them again during a divorce, a judge will decide what is a reasonable amount of marital property, spousal support, and/or child support to assign each spouse. These decisions are made based on several factors such as each spouse’s income, their contributions during the marriage, and their respective parental responsibilities. But, what happens if these factors change after the divorce is finalized? In a case like this, a divorced individual may need to seek a divorce decree modification.

Verbal Agreements Are Not Enforceable

Circumstances which would necessitate a divorce modification include substantial changes in income, illnesses, relocation, or remarriage. Generally, courts do not make changes to the original property or debt division, but modifications of spousal support or alimony, child support, and parenting time, are more common. Couples who wish to modify the terms of their divorce agreements by way of a verbal agreement should be ward that such verbal agreements are not enforceable by the court. Modifications must be in writing and approved by the court to be effective.

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Posted on in Alimony

spousal support, Kane County divorce lawyersIf you have been considering filing for divorce, you probably have many questions and concerns. One such question may be “Will I have to make support payments to my ex-spouse?” Spousal support, also called spousal maintenance or alimony, helps limit the negative financial effects of a divorce by providing a continuing income to a non-wage-earning or lower-wage-earning spouse. In the past, payments were almost always made by an ex-husband to his ex-wife. Today, both men and women are recipients of support and both men and women may be required to pay it. Spousal support can be based on a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement or a court decision.

How Is Alimony Awarded? 

Courts have the authority to make decisions about spousal support during a divorce. A judge will look at several factors in order to determine what the fairest arrangement would be. When making decisions about spousal support courts must consider:

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Posted on in Alimony

spousal support, Kane County divorce lawyersMovies and pop culture would have us believe that spousal support is almost always granted to one spouse—usually the wife—during a divorce. However, this is not always the case. There are many divorce cases in Illinois where maintenance is deemed unnecessary for a variety of reasons. If you are in the process of divorcing, it is important that you understand the reality of spousal support, legally known as maintenance in Illinois.

Factors to Consider

In order to determine whether support is appropriate or not, the court must consider a list of many different factors. Some of the relevant questions include:

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Posted on in Alimony

stay-at-home, Kane County family law attorneyIf you are a stay-at-home parent on the verge of divorce, your life is likely to change dramatically. The very nature of a stay-at-home mom or dad—as opposed to a parent who works from home—means that he or she relies on his or her spouse to provide financially for the family. In the wake of divorce, a stay-at-home parent could be at a very serious disadvantage. Fortunately, such parents often have a number of options available to help offset some of the financial effects of a divorce, and a seasoned family law attorney can assist you in exploring them all.

Spousal Support

Maintenance—also called alimony—is one of the most common tools that the courts use to help stay-at-home parents following a divorce. According to Illinois law, the court has the authority to order maintenance if either spouse has a legitimate need. The court must consider a number of factors in determining such a need, and your stay-at-home parent status is certainly one of them, but that alone is not necessarily enough to justify an award.

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earning capacity, Kane County divorce lawyrersIf you are thinking about filing for divorce, you may be concerned about the financial implications of such a decision. The process itself can be very expensive in some situations, but you could also be worried about making it on your own, especially if your spouse was the primary wage-earner in your family. To address this concern, you may consider including a request for maintenance with your divorce filing. Maintenance payments, sometimes known as alimony, may be ordered to help offset some of the economic challenges that can be created by your divorce. Such payments are not guaranteed, however, and the court must identify a spouse’s need before maintenance is awarded.

Need-Based Considerations

There are many factors that the court will take into account when deciding on the appropriateness of a maintenance order, including the lifestyle that the couple established in their marriage and how the marital property will be or has been divided in the divorce. As you might expect, each spouse’s income must also be considered, but the court will look at more than just how much you and your spouse actually earn. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that the court must also take into account “the realistic present and future earning capacity of each party.”

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