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How Is Spousal Maintenance Calculated in Illinois?For many couples, getting a divorce can be a big financial burden. Going from being a dual-income family to having to run a household on one income can be tough on anyone. In situations in which one spouse may be greatly disadvantaged financially after a divorce, a judge might deem it appropriate to award that person spousal maintenance. In Illinois, spousal maintenance, which is also known as alimony or spousal support, is calculated using a specific formula, and it usually only lasts for a specific period of time. If you are getting a divorce, you should understand the basics of Illinois spousal maintenance.

Calculating Spousal Maintenance

If a spouse is awarded spousal maintenance, the formula set forth by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) will be used to determine the amount of the maintenance award. The formula applies to any couple whose combined gross annual income is less than $500,000. The formula is as follows:

  • 33.3% of payor’s net income - 25% of payee’s net income = Maintenance award

The law also states that the amount determined in that formula is not permitted to be more than 40 percent of the combined gross income of both spouses. The length of time the maintenance award is paid depends on the length of the marriage. The IMDMA sets forth a list of multiplying factors that determine the payment period.

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5 Tips to Help You Prepare Your Finances Before Your Illinois DivorceIt has often been said that preparation is the key to success, and getting divorced is no exception. Most areas of your life will change after a divorce, including your living situation and parenting situation. Even though your divorce is an emotional process, it is just as much a legal and financial process.

Dealing with marital finances during a divorce can be tricky, especially since financial issues are often the root of disagreements during divorce negotiations. Proper preparation is crucial when it comes to the financial side of your divorce. Here are a few ways you can prepare your finances before you begin negotiations:

Tip #1: Collect Your Records

The first thing you need to do is to gather all of your financial information from the past couple of years. This can help you get a good idea of your financial picture and will ensure that you have everything ready as you begin the negotiation process. You should try to gather records such as:

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How Does Mental Illness Affect Parental Rights in an Illinois Divorce?Many adults experience mental illness during their lifetime. In fact, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 43.8 million adults experience mental illness in any given year. While mental illness can be naturally occurring, it can also be triggered by major events in your life, such as divorce. Mental illness will not typically factor into divorce decisions, but it can be an issue to address when making decisions related to children, namely, decisions about parenting time or decision-making responsibilities.

Elements to Consider When Making Child-Related Decisions

Any child-related issue that must be settled during a divorce is made in the child’s best interests. If the parents disagree on what is in the child’s best interests, then a judge will have to intervene and make decisions about the allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities for the parents. When making these decisions, the judge will look at various factors, including:

  • The wishes of the child, taking into account the child’s maturity
  • The ability of the parents to cooperate with each other
  • The level of conflict that may exist between the parents
  • The wishes of each parent
  • The needs of the child
  • The ability and willingness of both parents to facilitate a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent
  • The mental and physical health of both parents and the child

It is the judge’s job to understand the family dynamic as accurately as possible so that he or she can ensure the child has a happy and healthy life.

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What Should We Do With Our Family Home During Our Divorce?If you are one of the lucky people who get to live out the American dream by buying and owning your own home, you know how rewarding it can be to have a place of your own. When you are married, real estate property becomes more than a house – it becomes a home. Dealing with your family home can be one of the toughest decisions you will make when dividing your property during your divorce. In many cases, the family home is the most valuable asset a couple owns, both from a financial and sentimental perspective.

Generally, three basic options exist when it comes to dealing with your marital home. You and your spouse can choose to sell the home, one of you can keep the home, or you can both keep the home. Each family situation is unique, so what may be right for one family may not necessarily be right for another. 

Sell the House

The easiest way to deal with your family home is often just to sell it. If you and your spouse both agree to sell the home, you can take the equity you have in the home and split it, leaving each of you with part of the profits. The downside to selling your home is that you may owe capital gains taxes on the home if it has appreciated in value. If your home has depreciated in value, you might want to consider a different option.

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How to Help Your Adult Children Deal With Your DivorceWhen you think of divorce, you might picture a family with younger children who will have to shift from household to household for the rest of their childhood. However, while a divorce can be hard on children who are still growing up, it can also be difficult for adults whose parents are splitting up.

Most of the time, when a couple who has adult children gets divorced, they are ending a marriage that has lasted for years, or maybe even decades. Divorcing after a long marriage can be difficult for both the couple and the rest of the family, due to increased financial issues and the amount of history and memories made together. If you are a parent of adult children, and you and your spouse are getting a divorce, here are a few ways that you can help your children cope with this major life change.

Time the Announcement Right

Once you realize that you are definitely getting a divorce, and there is no turning back, you should begin to think about how you are going to break the news to your family. An announcement as big as this should come directly from you, not from another family member who heard it first. In some cases, you may want to gather all of your children together to let them know about your divorce, but this may not always be feasible due to busy schedules or because you live in different geographical areas. In any case, you will want to have an adult conversation where you can inform each child about the end of your marriage, answer their questions, and ensure that they understand what is happening in your life.

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