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Kane County spousal maintenance attorneyIf you are facing the possibility of a divorce, you and your spouse will need to resolve a number of issues. For many couples, property and money-related concerns are among the most challenging considerations. You have likely worked hard to earn what you have, so the possibility of “losing” your hard-earned assets during your divorce may not sit well with you. You may also be concerned about the possibility of paying maintenance—also known as spousal support or alimony—which can lead to disagreements as you are headed for a divorce.

Depending on where you are in the divorce process, you may have questions about spousal support and whether it will be a factor in your Illinois divorce. Some of the most frequently asked maintenance questions include:

Will Maintenance Be Awarded Automatically?

Under the law in Illinois, maintenance will only be granted following a divorce if the requesting spouse can prove that such support is needed to facilitate an equitable divorce. Maintenance is not automatic or guaranteed, and requesting it does not mean that it will necessarily be granted. If, however, you and your spouse already have a valid prenuptial agreement that says spousal support is to be paid, you can generally assume that the court will enforce the agreement.

Kane County alimony lawyerIn today’s world, many married couples rely on two incomes to live comfortably. Getting a divorce means you are no longer using two incomes to pay bills, as you will likely have to make ends meet with your paycheck alone. For some, this may not be a big deal, but for others, it can make supporting themselves very difficult. This is where spousal maintenance could be very helpful. 

Also known as spousal support or alimony, spousal maintenance is either established by an agreement between the spouses or ordered by a judge based on the circumstances of the situation. Maintenance is typically used to allow both spouses to continue a reasonably similar quality of life compared to what they had when they were married.

Factors in Determining Alimony

Spousal maintenance is not guaranteed in all Illinois divorce cases. Absent an agreement between the parties, spousal maintenance will only be awarded when it is needed to make a divorce settlement more equitable. When making determinations about spousal maintenance, the judge will examine the marriage and divorce and will use a specific set of factors to make a decision.

Receiving Your Spousal Support in a Lump SumWhen negotiating the financial aspects of a divorce settlement, each party must consider how to support him or herself in the present and future. The division of marital properties may have the greatest current value to a spouse, but spousal support payments can help create prolonged financial security. However, parties can waive regular spousal support payments in exchange for a lump sum payment, given as either one payment or in installments. The recipient spouse reaps an immediate monetary reward, but the paying spouse often benefits more. A spouse may ultimately receive more money through continued spousal support payments than from the lump sum payment. Though lump sum spousal support agreements seem short-sighted, the recipient spouse may have a valid reason to seek immediate compensation.

Benefits

Some spouses agree to receiving a lump sum spousal support payment because they are enticed by the big payout. Others are motivated by financial or emotional factors that make sense in their situations:

Overcoming the Stigma of Male Spousal SupportIt is increasingly common for women to be the breadwinner in marriages, while more husbands are choosing to be stay-at-home dads. Societal norms are changing so that marriage roles are more independent from gender. Gender norms have also changed in divorce. Whereas it was once assumed that the husband would pay spousal support to the wife, more courts are awarding spousal support to men. However, statistics suggest that a significant number of men are eligible for spousal support but do not receive it. Because Illinois law does not distinguish between genders in determining spousal support, there should be no legal reason for this. Society’s lingering gender bias is likely the reason more divorced men do not receive spousal support.

Male Pride

Some men believe that receiving spousal support payments from their former wives would emasculate them. Through their experiences witnessing other marriages growing up, they may have learned that:

Double Dipping and Business Valuations During DivorceDouble dipping comes in many forms and generally leaves at least one person upset. When it occurs during a divorce, a spouse is giving up an inequitable share of money or assets. “Double dipping” in divorce happens when a spouse’s income is used to determine both:

Many states, including Illinois, try to prevent double dipping by not counting personal income as a marital property. During business valuations, distinguishing personal income from marital property can be difficult. A business is both a shared property and an individual income source. How you determine a business’ value can prevent double dipping.

Valuation Process

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