What if my spouse cuts me off financially when I file for divorce?

This is a common concern for families going through divorce.  The Illinois divorce statute (Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act) has a solution.  After you have filed for divorce but before you have all the information needed for a permanent resolution, you can request temporary relief.  The law is set out in 750 ILCS 5/501.  It provides for several types of financial relief.  We will discuss the most common ones below.

Child Support and Maintenance

The court can order one parent/spouse to pay the other an amount of temporary child support and/or maintenance while the divorce case is pending.  The amount is based primarily on the Financial Affidavits filed by the parties.  The amount can be adjusted in a final hearing or settlement if information obtained during discovery or other circumstances change the calculations.  Please see our blogs on child support and maintenance for more information on how the amounts are calculated. 

Exclusive Possession of the Marital House

Living together during a divorce can be stressful and, in some situations, even dangerous.  Domestic violence is one reason a spouse may request temporary exclusive possession of the marital home.  Other reasons can relate to tension, arguments, and privacy as well as others. The judge can determine who may remain in the house if it is detrimental to the family for both spouses to continue to live together. 

Restraining Order

A party can request a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction preventing a spouse from spending, transferring, or generally misusing marital money.  There are pros and cons to this type of restraining order as well as a high burden of proof to meet, but it can be a useful tool in protecting your assets in a divorce. This provision can also be used for some issues involving personal liberty and the children, but it is not the same as an Order of Protection.   

Attorney’s Fees

Finally, if one spouse has a better ability to pay attorney’s fees, the other spouse can request that spouse pay their attorney’s fees while the divorce is pending.  A judge will determine if and how much a spouse must pay primarily by reviewing the Financial Affidavits.  It is important to keep in mind that these fees are an interim award and they may be considered part of your distribution of assets in a final settlement or hearing. 

Above is a brief summary of several types of temporary financial relief that is available.   It is not exhaustive.  A more in depth and case specific discussion is available in a free consultation.

Contact Hicks & Spector L.L.C. to schedule a free consultation to discuss your family issue or divorce.

Content contained on this site is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. You should consult an attorney of your choosing to discuss your particular case and to obtain legal advice specific to your situation.


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