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High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213
Hillside, IL 60162

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Oak Park divorce order modification lawyerWhen a divorce is finalized, the decisions that are made are intended to be permanent. However, there may be some cases when a divorce decree may be modified, especially if it contains provisions that affect the parties’ ongoing financial situation or their relationships with their children. When addressing post-decree matters, divorced spouses should be sure to understand the types of changes that can be made and the circumstances that may warrant a modification.

Terms of a Divorce Decree That May Be Modified

After a couple’s marriage has been legally dissolved, an ex-spouse usually will not be able to request changes to decisions about the division of marital property. However, a person may be able to petition the court for modifications to address the following:

  • Spousal maintenance - If spousal support was not awarded to either party in a divorce decree, neither party will usually be able to go back to court to ask for this form of support. However, if one spouse has been ordered to pay support to the other, either party may ask for modifications to the order based on changes in their financial circumstances. For example, someone who is required to pay maintenance to their ex-spouse may ask for support payments to be reduced or terminated because they have experienced health issues or financial difficulties that have affected their ability to continue making these payments.

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Oak Park divorce attorneyIf you are going through a divorce, you may be concerned about your ability to provide for yourself financially once your marriage has been legally dissolved. If you have relied on your spouse during the marriage to earn the majority of the income needed to meet your family’s needs, you may be able to receive financial support (known as spousal maintenance) following your divorce. On the other hand, if you earn more than your spouse, you may be concerned about your ability to cover your own expenses if you are also required to pay spousal support. By understanding how spousal maintenance is calculated, you can determine the amount you may pay or receive, allowing you to plan for how you will meet your financial needs once your divorce is complete.

Guidelines for Calculating Spousal Maintenance

Illinois law provides a formula for calculating spousal support obligations based on the income earned by divorcing spouses. Under this formula, 25 percent of the recipient’s gross annual income is subtracted from 33⅓ percent of the paying spouse’s gross annual income. The result will be the amount that will be paid on an annual basis, although this amount will usually be divided into 12 monthly installments. However, when the amount of maintenance is added to the recipient’s income, the total cannot be more than 40 percent of the spouses’ combined gross annual income.

To understand how these calculations will be performed, consider a situation in which Spouse A earns a gross income of $200,000 per year, and Spouse B earns a gross income of $75,000. Using the formula described above, $18,750 ($75,000 x .25) would be subtracted from $66,667 ($200,000 x .333...), resulting in $47,917. However, when this amount is added to Spouse B’s gross income, the result is $122,917. The couple earns a combined gross income of $275,000, and 40% of this amount is $110,000. This means that the amount of maintenance that Spouse B would receive would be reduced to $35,000 per year, or $2,917 per month.

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Hillside IL prenuptial agreement attorneyThere are many reasons why couples who are planning to get married may wish to enter into a prenuptial agreement. A “prenup” can protect the ownership of assets that each party will be bringing into the marriage, ensuring that a person will continue to own certain assets if they end up getting a divorce. This can be especially beneficial for business owners, people with large incomes or family wealth, or those who have children from a previous relationship. However, spouses will need to meet certain requirements to ensure that their prenup will be valid. If an agreement is not drafted correctly, and one spouse challenges the agreement during the divorce process, some or all of the terms of the agreement may be found to be unenforceable.

Reasons a Prenup May Be Unenforceable

Most of the time, a prenuptial agreement may only be challenged based on the grounds that it was either not signed voluntarily, or that it was unconscionable.

A person may claim that they did not voluntarily sign a prenup, but instead were coerced or threatened into signing it. For example, if one party presented a prenuptial agreement to the other on the day of the couple’s wedding and stated that they would not get married unless it was signed, this could be considered coercion, and the agreement might be found to be invalid on that basis. A couple can avoid this possibility by signing the prenup well in advance of the wedding, as well as by making sure that each party has the opportunity to consult with their own attorney to ensure they fully understand their rights and how they will be affected by the agreement.

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Hillside IL divorce lawyerIf you and your spouse have not been happy for a long time, getting a divorce may be able to give you the relief you need. However, getting a divorce is not a walk in the park. Resolving matters like the division of marital property can be complicated, and if your spouse is reluctant to provide you information about his or her finances, you may need to take advantage of the discovery process to get the information you need to make well-informed decisions.

What Is the Discovery Process?

The discovery process allows divorcing couples to gather important information and documents, usually related to each other’s finances, after the filing of the initial divorce petition. Sometimes, spouses willingly share such information, but it is often necessary to use a more formal legal process to better ensure all relevant information is exchanged. Through discovery, each spouse gets access to the same information when coming to decisions regarding their divorce. If you and your divorce attorney gather this information, you may have an easier time reaching a fair agreement.

What Are the Different Types of Discovery Tools?

Divorce attorneys use several discovery tools to help them gather important information. For example, interrogatories are written questions that each spouse can submit, often concerning the other spouse’s income, debts, assets, work history and educational background. Spouses must answer these questions within 28 days of receiving them. Similarly, requests for admissions of facts allow one spouse to ask the other to either confirm or deny certain facts. Admissions of facts can be particularly helpful when trying to verify the validity of documents and to discover hidden assets.

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Oak Park IL family law attorneyDuring the Illinois divorce process, parents have an important responsibility to fill out a “Parenting Plan” document which states the details of parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities between the two parties. Parents may cooperate in the creation of a single parenting plan, or each parent may feel the need to draw up their own plan during the divorce case. With either approach, once the divorce is finalized and a plan is approved by the judge, it becomes legally binding. However, if your circumstances change after the divorce, you may be able to modify the parenting plan.

When It May Be Necessary to Modify a Parenting Plan

A parenting plan is not necessarily set in stone. If you, your former spouse, or your children go through major life changes after your divorce, a judge may agree to modify the plan. Here are a few situations that may warrant a modification.

  • One parent moves out of state.

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