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DuPage County criminal defense attorney spousal maintenance

One of the most stressful and frustrating aspects of divorcing your spouse is the financial aspect of the situation. For some couples, the money side of the divorce may not be of much concern, but for most couples, getting a divorce puts a real financial strain on both parties. According to Bankrate, the average cost of a divorce is around $15,000, but the final price tag could be upward of $100,000 in extremely contentious divorces. That is a hefty bill for anyone to foot, especially for those who are disabled or who have been homemakers and who have not held a career. In some situations, spousal maintenance, also known as alimony, can be paid by one spouse to another to help with living expenses. However, spousal maintenance is not awarded in all divorce cases.

Determining a Need for Spousal Maintenance

In some cases, a couple may have an existing prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that dictates the terms of spousal support. If the agreement is determined to be valid and upheld, the guidelines contained in the agreement can be used to determine spousal maintenance.

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DuPage County divorce attorney spousal maintenance

When you are in the midst of a divorce, it can start to feel overwhelming, like there is no end in sight. Divorce negotiations can be unpredictable, leaving you with much to wonder about, including what your life will be like after your divorce is over. There are so many questions that you likely have on your mind -- where you will be living, if you have to sell your home, and whether or not you will have enough income to support yourself and your children if you are a parent. Regardless if you are a stay-at-home parent or you work outside of the home, many people have financial worries when they go to get a divorce. 

Financial Considerations

The best way to ensure you are in good financial standing after your divorce is to take the proper steps to protect your financial health during your divorce. Here are a few ways you can be proactive in preparing your finances for post-divorce life:

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Joliet Courthouse divorce attorney child support order

Divorce agreements are made with the intention that they will last forever. While this may be the case for those who get divorced and do not have any children or alimony requirements, divorce agreements rarely last the test of time. When children or monthly support payments are involved, things never remain the same over time. Luckily, the Illinois court system addresses this possibility within their divorce legislation. In order for modifications to be made to your agreement, you must meet the criteria outlined below.

Spousal Maintenance

The purpose of spousal maintenance is to even the financial divide between both spouses and provide the lower-earning spouse with financial assistance. The terms of these payments vary for each divorce agreement. Some may be expected to provide this support indefinitely while others have a specified timeline. Divorced couples always have the ability to revisit their agreement, especially if they feel that the spousal maintenance requirements are unnecessary or unfair. 

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Will County divorce attorney spousal maintenance

When it comes to paying spousal support or maintenance (alimony), a common question is, “What happens if my ex remarries or starts living with someone else?” Do you still have to pay alimony in this situation? Under Illinois law, the remarriage of a former spouse receiving alimony automatically terminates the paying spouse’s obligations, unless the divorce settlement or judgment specifies otherwise. Even if the receiving spouse does not formally remarry, but instead starts “cohabitating” with another person, the paying spouse can still seek a court order terminating spousal maintenance. But keep in mind, unlike with remarriage, cohabitation does not automatically end alimony obligations.

Appellate Court Finds “Friends with Benefits” Relationship Not Enough to End Alimony

Indeed, just because you believe your ex is now involved in a “de facto” marriage with someone else, that may not be enough to convince a judge. Take this recent decision from the Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court, In re Marriage of Blue. This case involves a couple that divorced in 2015. A marital settlement agreement between the parties required the former husband to pay the former wife $1,200 per month in alimony. The agreement followed Illinois law and specified that spousal maintenance would terminate if the former wife “cohabited with another person on a resident, continuing, or conjugal basis.”

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