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

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Hillside Divorce AttorneyIf you and your spouse have decided to split up and get a divorce, both of you will need to address numerous financial issues related to the ending of your marriage. Many of these issues  have to do with the division of marital property, and determining how to fairly and equitably divide the assets you both own can often be a complicated process. However, it is also important to ensure that both of you will have the financial resources that will allow you to meet your needs going forward, and so issues related to the income that each of you earns may need to be addressed. If your spouse is not currently working, they may request that you provide them with ongoing support payments. By understanding the laws that affect alimony (also known as spousal maintenance, or spousal support), you can work to find solutions that will protect your financial interests.

Spousal Support Laws in Illinois 

In Illinois, spousal maintenance is governed by Section 504 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). The IMDMA states that either spouse can request maintenance from the other spouse during a divorce. When determining whether spousal support will be appropriate, a family court judge will consider such factors as each party’s current income and earning capacity, the standard of living during the marriage, the age and health of each party, the level of education attained by each party during the marriage, and the duration of the marriage. Other significant factors include contributions made by the spouse who is seeking support to the other spouse's career, as well as the amount of time the spouse seeking support will need to be able to support themselves.

The ultimate purpose of spousal maintenance is to help ensure that both spouses can maintain the standard of living that they had during their marriage. A spouse who is not currently working may request support from the other spouse to ensure that they can address their ongoing needs.

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Contested Divorce: When Spouses Cannot Agree

Posted on in Divorce

dupage county divorce lawyerJust as there are a  variety of types of marriages, there are numerous different types of divorces. Some divorces are a result of one spouse having an affair, while other divorces occur  because the couple simply grows apart. The end of their marriage comes as a total shock to some spouses, while others have known it was coming for years. If you are in a situation where you and your spouse are not on the same page about how you want to end your marriage and move on with your life, you may be facing a contested divorce. Contested divorces are much more complicated and time-consuming than uncontested divorces, and a person going through this type of divorce is strongly encouraged to hire an experienced family law attorney.

Contested Divorce vs. Uncontested Divorce

Couples going thru a divorce who agree on subjects such as property and debt division, the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, child support and spousal maintenance generally do not have to go through numerous court hearings or extensive legal negotiations in order to end their marriage. The court’s main purpose when it comes to divorce is to make rulings about issues on which couples disagree. There is usually no need for far-reaching court involvement when couples are willing to cooperate and compromise.

Contested Divorce

If one or both spouses dispute some aspect of their divorce and the couple cannot come to a compromise or agreement, they will probably be facing a contested divorce. An individual who wishes to divorce his or her spouse will need to first prepare and file the divorce petition. This is the legal document which formally requests the divorce. The person’s attorney then engages in the “discovery” portion of the divorce process, which involves gathering information about each spouse’s financial situation. Then there may be pre-trial legal motions and hearings. During this time, the attorneys will also attempt to negotiate a settlement.

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hillside divorce lawyerConflict is often a part of divorce, but certain relationships have higher levels of conflict than others. If your spouse has a history of being abusive or destructive or has unpredictable, angry outbursts, you may worry that he or she may try to destroy your shared belongings. Perhaps he or she has already done so, and you are wondering if you can be awarded the lost value of those items. In cases like this, what’s known as an “asset dissipation claim” may be worthwhile to bring in the divorce case. To learn more about this type of claim, read on, and then contact a skilled Illinois divorce attorney for help with such a claim. 

When Can an Asset Dissipation Claim Be Brought? 

Angry or vindictive destruction of marital property is not the only reason a spouse may want to bring a claim of asset dissipation. Any time a spouse uses marital funds for purposes unrelated to the benefit of the marriage, without the consent of the other spouse,   an asset dissipation claim may be able to be brought in the divorce case.  This is because marital money is meant to be used for the benefit of all parties in a marriage - not just one party. Examples of  behavior that may justify asset dissipation claims include, but are not limited to: 

  • Secretly spending large amounts of money on drug or alcohol abuse; 

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Oak Park Spousal Support AttorneyAlimony can be one of the most frustrating issues to deal with in a divorce. Not only are both parties generally unhappy by the payments themselves (the payer usually feels they are too much, while the recipient usually argues they are insufficient), but the payments often go on long after a marriage has ended. Understandably, former spouses are often very sensitive to things that could influence or terminate the payments. 

Whether you are making or receiving alimony payments in Illinois, it is important to understand the circumstances that could trigger a modification or halt in payments. Knowing the law is especially important because failing to follow it, even accidentally, could lead to court sanctions. Read on to learn more, and then contact an Illinois alimony attorney today. 

Spousal Maintenance in Illinois  

Alimony is formally known as “spousal maintenance” in Illinois, although you may also hear it called “spousal support” as well. Although spousal maintenance is ordered less often than it used to be, it is still a common feature of divorce, especially when one spouse earns more than the other, or when one spouse gave up career opportunities to care for children. 

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hillside child custody lawyerWhile disputes over parenting time and parental responsibilities are commonly some of the most difficult aspects of a divorce to resolve, some parents go above and beyond normal levels of conflict and try to prevent the other parent from having any access to the children at all. Sometimes, this behavior is based on legitimate concerns about a spouse’s parental fitness because of a true history of abuse, neglect or concerning personal behavior. Most of the time, however, high-conflict custody disputes are just an extension of parental interpersonal conflict in which one parent has, or both parents have, decided to use the children to try to get revenge. 

If you are getting divorced or are seeking a child custody modification in Illinois, and your situation has already become very tense, here are three major mistakes to avoid as your case plays out in court. 

Mistake #1: Try to Convince a Judge that Your Spouse is the Bad Guy

Illinois family law judges have seen it all. They are highly attuned to the possibility that a parent might be using false allegations to try to gain the upper hand in court. If you are truly concerned that your child’s other parent is an unfit parent, provide clear,  unbiased evidence that supports your allegations. Do not call the other parent names, lose your temper in court appearances, leave threatening voicemails or give a judge any reason to believe your allegations are based more on a personal vendetta than objective truth. This includes making tasteless social media posts about the other parent, which can be easily accessed and produced as evidence in court. 

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