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b2ap3_thumbnail_gavel-money-alimony-maintenance.jpgDepending upon the circumstances surrounding your marriage and divorce, you may feel that you should be entitled to spousal maintenance payments from your ex-spouse. Unlike child support, spousal support is not presumed to be appropriate in every situation. Instead, Illinois law requires each case to be weighed on its own merits to determine if the need for such supports actually exists. This means that, if you think you deserve to receive maintenance, you may need to explicitly request consideration for it.

Marital Misconduct Not a Factor

Unless you and your spouse included behavior clauses in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the court will not consider the conduct of either party when deciding whether to award maintenance. While your spouse’s behavior may leave you feeling like he or she owes you some type of restitution, the law in Illinois specifically prohibits marital misconduct from being a factor in maintenance proceedings. Spousal support is meant to help you meet your financial needs and obligations. It is not intended to be used as a punitive measure against your spouse.

Decreased Earning Potential

While the law does not allow support to be awarded on the basis of infidelity or marital misconduct, other factors in your relationship can affect the proceedings in your favor. If your role in the marriage or as a parent has impaired your ability to reach your full earning potential, your chances of being awarded of support may be better.

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Naperville divorce attorneysIf your spouse suffers from narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, or another type of personality disorder, you may have concerns about how he or she will respond to divorce. Ending a marriage can be extremely difficult no matter the circumstances, but when a spouse suffers from a mental illness, the situation can be particularly stressful. You may encounter legal obstacles during the divorce process that are nearly impossible to manage on your own. Fortunately, a divorce lawyer experienced in handing cases involving mentally ill spouses can help you navigate this tricky situation.

Protect Your Finances  

Sometimes, a mental illness like a personality disorder manifests in impulsive behavior. This may include going on shopping sprees or spending money through a gambling addiction or substance abuse problem. There are a few different ways that you can protect your finances before the divorce process is initiated. If you are not quite ready to divorce or you suspect the divorce process will take a considerable amount of time, you may want to obtain a legal separation.

A separation agreement may clarify which spouses have access to joint bank accounts or it could stipulate that joint accounts be closed and that each spouse opens his or her own account. A legal separation will also prevent you from being responsible for debts accumulated by your spouse before the divorce is finalized. Another option is to obtain a financial restraining order. This is a court order that will freeze marital assets for both parties and prohibit spouses from selling off marital property.

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DuPage County family law attorneysFor many individuals, it takes a divorce to highlight just how financially dependent a person may be on his or her spouse. This, of course, may be all the more true if you are also trying to raise children. It is for exactly such reasons that the divorce laws in Illinois include provisions for spousal maintenance and child support. These orders are issued, when appropriate, by the court to distribute the financial burden more equitably between you and your ex-spouse. But, what would happen if your ex-spouse was no longer around to provide support for you or your children? Would you be able to get by? If the answer is no, you may want to speak with family law attorney about including life insurance requirements in your divorce agreement.

Why Life Insurance?

A life insurance policy is designed to pay financial benefits to the named beneficiaries of a insured individual upon the insured person’s death. These funds are often used to cover funeral costs, pay down debts, or to simply maintain a similar lifestyle. Married individuals will commonly name their spouse as the primary beneficiary to help provide a level of security in the event of their death.

Reliance on Your Ex-Spouse

It may not be easy to admit, but if you are seeking spousal maintenance or child support, you are still financially dependent, to at least a certain extent, on your former partner. Your reliance may not be as strong as it once was during your marriage, but you likely count on his or her help to provide for your most basic needs and those of your children. If he or she were to die suddenly, you could face tremendous difficulty as a result of the support payment ending.

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