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DuPage County divorce attorney spousal maintenance

Although it occurred slightly over one year ago, it is worth understanding the changes that Illinois made to its spousal maintenance law on January 1, 2019. The law controls not just how a court can determine whether or not one spouse is owed maintenance payments from the other, but how to choose the duration and amounts of those payments. Even if you have the help of an experienced divorce attorney to guide you through the divorce process, it could benefit you to understand whether to expect a court to rule in favor of maintenance payments for you or your spouse. 

2019 Illinois Spousal Maintenance Law

Before deciding whether spousal maintenance applies in a divorce, the court must consider many factors, all of which are detailed in the 2019 Illinois spousal maintenance law:

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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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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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