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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700

Illinois divorce lawyerWhen two people decide to divorce, one of the most common questions that comes up is the issue of the payment of maintenance , a form of spousal support in Illinois. While not every divorce will result in someone paying spousal support, many will. Whether you will be the one receiving the support or making the support payment, it is a smart idea to be familiar with how maintenance works in Illinois before you finalize your divorce.

Step One: Maintenance Award

An Illinois court will consider many different factors when assessing whether spousal support is warranted. These factors may be found in Section 504 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Some of these factors include:

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 Illinois divorce lawyerCohabitation is a legal concept that has been around for as long as marriage, but it has only recently begun to acquire legal significance in the last two or three decades, at least in the United States. Cohabitating is done by couples who may want to try out living together or see how they function as a unit before taking the plunge into marriage and is not a legal status. However, there are certain legal facts that one should still be aware of if they decide to cohabitate, mostly to do with support from a previous marriage.

Not True in All States

In many states, orders for maintenance can generally be modified or terminated upon a showing of a “substantial change in circumstances” - for example, if an obligor loses their job and takes a new one that only pays enough to put a roof over their head, they might ask for maintenance to be terminated or at least put in abeyance because they lack the money to pay it. This is, however, an extremely unusual situation - most of the time, spousal support can only reliably be terminated upon the recipient’s remarriage or on the death of one spouse.

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Illinois divorce lawyerPrenuptial agreements, also called premarital agreement, are becoming more and more common in this day and age. However, many remain unaware that they are not cure-alls; there are certain things that are not permitted to be disposed of or decided within an agreement of this nature. If you are getting married in Illinois and you and your future spouse decide to execute a prenuptial agreement, you must be aware of what can and cannot be included, or you run the risk of the agreement being held to be invalid.

The ILUPAA

Illinois has adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA or ILUPAA), which establishes specific guidelines and requirements for prenups that must be upheld. A prenup is essentially a contract, and like any other contract, certain things may not be included, and certain things can only be included if done so properly. The contract does not become effective until the marriage actually takes place, but once it is effective, it will be upheld unless it was unconscionable.

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyerDivorce affects every aspect of one’s life, from the physical to the emotional to the financial. It is the latter, however, that can sometimes surprise people, and the tax consequences can be the most shocking of all if someone is unprepared for them. While divorce may be the best option for you and your spouse, it is nonetheless important to be prepared for the potential financial changes that may occur.

Tax Brackets and Details

Most married couples choose to file a joint return, and if you are still married on December 31 of a year, you may file jointly for that year - even if your proceedings are in motion on that date, unless a divorce decree has officially been issued, you are considered married. Once your divorce is final, however, you must file as a single person, and this can sometimes mean a change in tax brackets, though property division is usually tailored to try an avoid that.

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Illinois mediation attorneyMost people who divorce choose to go through standard divorce proceedings, in family court. However, many are unaware that this is not the only option, especially if you and your spouse have a good working relationship. Mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution can often be quicker and less involved, which means that less time and money will be spent on hashing out minutiae.

The Strengths

The main strength of mediation, as opposed to a courtroom divorce, is that much more agency is left in your hands, and many legal decisions will be entirely yours and your spouse’s - indeed, unless your mediator is an attorney, they are prohibited from offering legal advice at all. That said, it can be highly advantageous to use a mediator that is an attorney, because then they will know the law and can offer guidance on more small details of the process. Even if your mediator has a law license, they cannot demand you or your spouse do anything; they can simply advise you as to the legality of any idea you may have.

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