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naperville divorce lawyerThere is no denying that divorce will have a financial impact on most couples. Even if the divorce is a “friendly” one without disagreements about how the marital estate should be divided, each spouse will still have to adjust to going from a two-income household to a one-income home. Keeping that in mind, there are certain steps you can take to help alleviate some of that financial pressure and ensure you are prepared once the divorce process is complete.

How Much Money Do You and Your Spouse Have?

While this may seem like an obvious question, many spouses do not know the answer to that question, especially if the other spouse is the one who handled all the family finances. Make sure you know exactly how much you have in checking and saving accounts, retirement accounts, and any other financial accounts you have. It is also important to know how much marital debt you have, so find out the balance for any mortgages and equity loans, vehicle loans, credit card bills, etc.

If you are planning to divorce, this is also a good time to get your own checking and saving accounts and apply for at least one major credit card in your own name to begin building a separate credit history.

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Wheaton spousal support attorneyAlimony refers to financial support that a spouse pays to a financially-dependent spouse after the couple’s divorce. These payments, which are referred to as “spousal maintenance” in Illinois law, are typically awarded when there is a major disparity in income between the spouses. Many spouses require financial support in the form of alimony because they gave up career advancements in favor of homemaking or child-rearing responsibilities. The purpose of spousal maintenance is to place both spouses in financial circumstances similar to what they enjoyed while they were married after they get divorced.

Alimony May Be Temporary, Permanent, or Rehabilitative

Divorce cases can take multiple months or even several years to complete. Some spouses request temporary alimony while the divorce is ongoing. Temporary alimony typically terminates when the divorce is finalized and the spouses become subject to the terms of the final divorce decree.

Maintenance awarded in the divorce decree may be ordered for a specific time period, or it may be indefinite.  Spousal maintenance is often intended to be rehabilitative in nature. These types of alimony payments give the recipient spouse time to secure the education, training, and/or employment he or she needs to be self-supporting. In a minority of cases, alimony is permanent and only terminates once the recipient remarries or cohabitates with a romantic partner, or either spouse passes away.

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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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