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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1707038608_20220103-161811_1.jpgGetting a divorce can sometimes involve financial struggles. During the divorce process, you will not only need to cover divorce costs, but you may need to find new living arrangements and determine how you will cover rent or mortgage payments, utilities, food, transportation, and other costs. If you are a stay-at-home parent, you may be worried about how you will be able to pay all of these expenses, whether you will need to find employment, and whether you will be able to continue staying home to care for your children. In this situation, it is important to understand whether you may be able to receive spousal support from your ex-spouse.

Eligibility for Spousal Maintenance

Payments made by one spouse to the other are generally known as spousal support or alimony, but the state of Illinois uses the term “maintenance” when addressing this issue. Maintenance is meant to address the disparity between spouses’ incomes. Both you and your spouse will want to try to maintain your standard of living after you split up, and if you earn a much smaller income or do not work outside the home, you will likely need financial support from your ex-spouse. Maintenance may be in addition to any child support that is ordered to address your children’s ongoing needs.

Maintenance may be awarded regardless of the reason for your divorce. “Marital misconduct” is not a factor that will be considered, so issues such as infidelity or a desire to end the marriage will not affect your ability to receive spousal support. Factors that are to be considered by Illinois courts when determining whether spousal maintenance is appropriate include:

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Posted on in Divorce

kane county divorce lawyerGoing through a divorce can be an extremely stressful time. More and more couples are searching for a non-adversarial way to get a divorce. One effective way to do this is through the process of collaborative divorce.  

What is Collaborative Divorce? 

A Collaborative Divorce is a process in which the parties involved and their attorneys are not required to appear in court. During a Collaborative Divorce, both spouses work with a collaborative team. Collaborative Divorce teams require an attorney for each spouse and generally include a divorce coach, who is a collaboratively trained mental health professional. Teams can also include a child coach and a neutral financial specialist. The couples who choose to divorce this way will avoid litigation.

What Steps do Couples Need to Take in a Collaborative Divorce? 

The first step in getting a Collaborative Divorce is finding attorneys trained and qualified to facilitate this process for each spouse. Each spouse has their own attorney.

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elgin divorce lawyerDuring the divorce process, not everyone is honest, and spouses sometimes attempt to gain a financial advantage by hiding money or property from their former partners. Sometimes this is out of malice because one party blames the other for the divorce and believes they deserve a smaller share of marital property. Other times, a divorcing spouse hides assets because they are worried that they will have to give up important items or simply because they are dishonest and selfish. However, spouses are required to divide all of their marital property fairly and equitably, and if a person believes that their spouse is attempting to conceal money or assets, they will want to uncover the property that was hidden. Divorcing spouses who have concerns about hidden assets should work with their attorney to bring this issue to the attention of the court and ensure that their spouse will be held accountable for these wrongful actions.

Places to Look for Hidden Assets

Some spouses use fairly obvious methods to hide assets, such as keeping cash or valuables in hidden locations in their home, in a safety deposit box, or with a friend or family member. They may also convert cash into other types of assets, such as by purchasing artwork or collectibles and then claiming that these items are worth less than what was actually paid. 

Other methods of hiding assets can be more sneaky, and they can sometimes be difficult to uncover without the assistance of a financial expert. A person may transfer money to a friend or family member, claiming that they are paying back debts or making payments for services performed, but they will plan to have the other person transfer the funds back to them after the divorce is over. They may also attempt to convert assets into less traceable forms, such as cryptocurrency or savings bonds.

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elgin divorce lawyerIf you own a business, it is probably one of your most valuable assets. After putting years of time and effort into building your business, you will want to make sure you can continue to own and operate it, no matter what happens. Unfortunately, a business can sometimes be a tricky issue to address when couples get divorced. If your marriage has broken down, or if you want to address what will happen if you choose to get a divorce in the future, you will need to be sure to understand how the ownership of your business will be handled.

Business Assets as Marital or Separate Property

The first issue that business owners will need to address is whether their business is part of the marital estate. Typically, if a business was founded or acquired after a couple’s marriage, it will be considered marital property, even if only one spouse was involved in starting and managing the business. In these cases, the business will be part of the property division process, and both spouses will have an equal ownership claim.

If a spouse had owned a business before the couple got married, it will usually be considered separate property. Since the business is not part of the marital estate, it will not need to be divided during divorce. However, if the business increased in value during the marriage, that increase may be considered marital property, especially if the non-owner spouse made contributions to the business. In these cases, the business owner spouse may need to reimburse the other spouse for the contributions that increased the value of their separate property.

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Elgin family law attorneyFor any parent, one of their primary concerns is ensuring that they can provide for their child’s needs. All parents are required to support their children financially, and when parents are not married or living together, child support orders will need to be established. In these situations, which may involve parents who are getting divorced or unmarried parents who are separated, parents will want to understand how child support obligations will be determined.

Illinois’ Child Support Laws

For many years, child support payments in Illinois were calculated by taking a straight percentage of the paying parent’s income. While this was a straightforward method, it did not address the income earned by the recipient of child support, which could sometimes put the paying parent at a financial disadvantage. To address this, Illinois revamped its method for calculating child support in 2017, and the state now uses an income-sharing process that bases child support on both parents’ incomes.

Under the income-sharing approach, an appropriate amount of child support is determined based on the monthly amount that a married couple who earns the same combined income level as a child’s parents would spend to provide for their child’s needs. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services maintains a table listing child support obligations for one to six children at different combined income ranges. This table is used to establish an appropriate amount that the parents will be required to pay for the number of children they share.

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