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Naperville family law attorneysAn order for spousal maintenance, or spousal support, in a divorce is issued on a need-based review of each individual case. There is no presumption that one spouse or the other will be required to pay spousal support. Spousal support, though less common than in previous generations, is still awarded in many divorce cases to help alleviate the financial burden of the divorce on an economically disadvantaged spouse. Once the final divorce judgment is entered, the spousal support order becomes enforceable by law and the supporting spouse must comply or face court sanctions. But what about during the divorce? Can spousal maintenance be ordered while the proceedings are still ongoing?

Temporary Orders

The simple answer is yes. Spousal support can be ordered by the court before the final divorce judgment is entered, but the order takes a somewhat different form. The process for obtaining a temporary maintenance order is different as well.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (720 ILCS 5) provides that either party in a divorce may request temporary spousal maintenance via a motion and a financial affidavit. The affidavit is a sworn (or affirmed) statement that lays out a party’s current financial situation, including all income, debts, and expenses. When filing, the spouse must also include supporting documentation such as tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, and others as appropriate. The court will also take into account the current arrangements regarding parenting time and parental responsibilities.

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DuPage County emotional abuse attorneysMany people are under the misconception that domestic violence only involves physical violence like hitting and kicking. Emotional abuse can be much harder to recognize that physical violence, but it can be just as damaging to a person’s well-being. One of the most insidious parts of emotional or mental abuse is that the abuser often convinces the victim that he or she somehow deserves the terrible treatment. Many victims of emotional abuse are afraid to report the abuse or leave an abusive spouse. If you have been a victim of any form of domestic violence, speaking to a domestic violence attorney and requesting an order of protection may help.

Examples of Emotional Abuse

Abusive individuals may use a variety of tactics to control and dominate their victim. They may use derogatory, insulting, and manipulative language to break down the victim’s self-esteem. They may withhold affection, communication, and support. If your spouse, romantic partner, or family member controls who you talk to, discourages you from spending time with loved ones, and disrespects your boundaries, you may be a victim of emotional abuse.

Gaslighting is also very common in emotionally abusive relationship. Gaslighting refers to a situation in which an abuser convinces the victim that he or she is misremembering events, not thinking clearly, or even going insane. Emotionally abusive people may use financial abuse to further control their victims as well. Financial abuse can include controlling a victim’s access to money, prohibiting the victim from getting a job, or insisting on seeing receipts for every cent that the victim spends.

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DuPage County divorce attorneysWhen a married couple divorces, they will need to decide how all of their marital assets are divided. If spouses cannot reach an agreement about property distribution, the court will decide a property division arrangement on the couple’s behalf. One question many divorcing individuals have is, “How are pets managed during divorce?” Although you probably think of your dog, cat, horse, bird, fish, or reptile as more of a family member than a piece of property, the law generally treats pets as property. However, Illinois made changes to the way “pet custody” is handled during divorce in 2018. Read on to learn about this relatively new law and how it may affect your divorce case.  

Pet Ownership Laws in Illinois

Pets are still effectively considered property for the purposes of divorce in Illinois. If a pet is considered a non-marital asset, it will be assigned to the original owner. If the pet is considered a marital asset, a determination will need to be made regarding who will own the pet after the divorce. Although pets are not treated exactly the same as children in a divorce, the new law does make a distinction between pets and other property like bank accounts and furniture. Section 503 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that if the pet is considered to be part of the marital estate, the court “shall allocate the sole or joint ownership of and responsibility for a companion animal of the parties…the court shall take into consideration the well-being of the companion animal.”

Sometimes, a spouse will argue for ownership of a pet simply to get revenge on the other spouse or draw out the divorce proceedings out of spite. Illinois judges consider which spouse can best provide for the pet’s welfare and who has been the primary caretaker for the pet in the past. This helps reduce the incidences of spouse acquiring ownership of a pet that they do not actually plan to love and care for. Spouses may also choose to share responsibility for pets.

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