Spousal support or alimony, technically known as maintenance in Illinois, is a critical aspect of divorce cases in Illinois. It involves one spouse providing financial assistance to the other spouse following the dissolution of their marriage. However, navigating the complexities of spousal support laws can be daunting without proper guidance. If you’re considering or currently undergoing divorce in the Chicagoland area, it’s essential to ask your maintenance lawyer the right questions about spousal support to ensure you understand your rights and obligations fully.

What Factors Determine Eligibility for Spousal Support?

The first question to ask your Chicago maintenance lawyer is about the factors that determine eligibility for spousal support in Illinois. According to Illinois law (750 ILCS 5/504), several factors are considered when determining whether spousal support is appropriate, including the income and needs of each spouse, the earning capacity of each spouse, the standard of living established during the marriage, the duration of the marriage, and any contributions made by one spouse to the education, training, or career advancement of the other spouse.

How Is the Amount of Spousal Support Calculated?

The guideline method for calculating alimony is applied in cases where the couple’s combined gross incomes is less than $500,00. Guidelines use a standard equation of 33.3 percent (one-third) of a payer’s monthly net income minus 25 percent (one-quarter) of a receiver’s monthly net income to determine the amount that will be paid every month. However, the maintenance amount, when added to the recipient’s gross income, cannot be more than 40% of the combined gross income for both parties.

However, state law does not allow the alimony to shift more than 40 percent of the couple’s collective income to the recipient. To be clear, this is a baseline formula. Courts can deviate from this alimony calculator when appropriate.

In cases where a couple’s incomes exceed $500,000, judges analyze the same factors mentioned above that are used to determine if maintenance is appropriate.

Your lawyer can help you understand the various factors that may influence the court’s decision and advocate for a fair outcome on your behalf.

What Types Of Spousal Support Are Available?

It’s essential to inquire about the different types of spousal support available under Illinois law. The main types of maintenance are: fixed-term, indefinite, reviewable, and reserved. Temporary maintenance may be awarded during the divorce proceedings to provide financial support to the lower-earning spouse until a final maintenance order is issued.

Can Spousal Support Orders Be Modified?

You should also ask your maintenance lawyer about the possibility of modifying spousal support orders in the future. In Illinois, spousal support orders can be modified or terminated under certain circumstances. For example, if there is a significant change in either spouse’s financial circumstances, such as a job loss or increase in income, the court may consider modifying the maintenance order. However, in some cases the amount and term of maintenance can be non-modifiable. Your lawyer can advise you on the legal process for seeking a modification and help you navigate the court system if changes become necessary.

What Happens If My Ex-Spouse Fails To Pay Spousal Support?

It’s crucial to understand your options if your ex-spouse fails to comply with a spousal support order. Illinois law provides enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance with support orders, including wage garnishment, property liens, and contempt of court proceedings. Your maintenance lawyer can explain your rights and options for enforcing a support order and take legal action on your behalf if necessary.

How Long Will Spousal Support Last?

Duration is a critical aspect of spousal support, and you should discuss this with your maintenance lawyer. In Illinois, the duration of maintenance payments is determined by the court based on various factors, including the length of the marriage and the specific circumstances of the parties involved.

The support will be paid for a term based on how long the couple was married. In guideline cases, maintenance could last between 20% of the length of the marriage if the union was less than five years to 100% of the length of the marriage, or an indefinite time, for marriages of 20 years or more.

Your lawyer can provide guidance on what to expect regarding the duration of spousal support in your case and advocate for a fair outcome that meets your needs.

What Tax Implications Should I Consider?

Tax implications are another important consideration when discussing spousal support. Prior to 2019, spousal support payments were tax-deductible for the paying spouse and taxable income for the recipient spouse. However, recent changes to federal tax law have eliminated the tax deduction for spousal support payments in cases in which the divorce occurs after 2018, which may impact your financial planning. Your maintenance lawyer can explain the current tax laws and how they may affect your spousal support arrangement.

As an experienced Illinois alimony attorney, Michael C. Craven has helped clients on all sides of alimony disputes. He has a deep understanding of state law. Drawing on his previous experience as a Certified Public Account (CPA) and tax attorney, he is adept in finding solutions to complex financial issues.

What Can I Do To Protect Myself?

Finally, ask your maintenance lawyer what steps you can take to protect yourself throughout the spousal support process. This may include gathering documentation of your financial situation, maintaining open communication with your ex-spouse, and seeking professional advice on financial planning and budgeting. Your lawyer can provide personalized guidance based on your specific circumstances and help you navigate the complexities of spousal support law in Illinois.

Asking the right questions about spousal support can help you better understand your rights and obligations during the divorce process. By consulting with a knowledgeable maintenance lawyer in Chicago, you can receive the guidance and support you need to navigate this challenging aspect of divorce proceedings with confidence.

Call Our Chicago Maintenance Lawyer To Protect Your Financial Future

If you have any questions concerning spousal maintenance or any other family law issue in Illinois, call our Chicago maintenance lawyer Michael C. Craven at (312) 621-5234 to schedule an initial consultation. Contact Attorney Michael Craven today to ensure your financial future is in capable hands.

The post Questions To Ask Your Chicago Maintenance Lawyer About Spousal Support first appeared on Divorce Attorney in Chicago.