Spousal Support for Stay-at-Home Parents After Divorce

support, Wheaton divorce lawyersWhile times have changed and there is no longer a cultural expectation for a parent—usually a mother—to sacrifice their career and stay home to raise a couple’s children, many couples choose such an arrangement. A stay-at-home parent plays a very important, and often underestimated, role in not only the lives of the children but in the running of the household as well. A divorce, however, can have a significant impact on a stay-at-home parent, as the parent may face serious financial concerns. If you are a stay-at-home parent facing the possibility of a divorce, there are some options that could help minimize the impact of the split.

Maintenance Laws in Illinois

The primary method of helping stay-at-home parents after divorce is called “maintenance” in Illinois law. Also known as alimony or spousal support, maintenance refers to payments made by one spouse to the other following a divorce. Under Illinois law, maintenance is not automatic and it is only awarded when the parties agree to it or the court determines that a need for it exists. You being a stay-at-home parent might be a major consideration, but there are other factors that the court must take into account as well, including:

  • Your contributions to the overall well-being of the family, including those you made as a stay-at-home parent and homemaker;
  • The extent to which you sacrificed your career;
  • Your ability to generate income after the divorce, and whether doing so is appropriate in light of your child custody arrangements;
  • The length of your marriage and the lifestyle you enjoyed during the marriage; and
  • Whether you received a larger portion of the marital property instead of continuing maintenance payments.

Putting the Pieces Together

There are many different reasons and ways to arrange a stay-at-home parenting situation. How and why you set yours up will be looked at by the court when determining whether to award maintenance. For example, if you were married for about five years and you just recently left your job to care for your first child, spousal support could be possible, but it is not guaranteed. On the other hand, if you got married right out of high school and stayed home for 20 years to raise your children while your spouse progressed quickly through the ranks in his career, your case for maintenance payments would be much stronger.

Contact Us for Help

There are many factors and variables that lead a couple to choose a stay-at-home parenting situation, and every one of them could affect the court’s decision regarding maintenance. If you are facing a divorce and are uncertain about your future, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.





Questions You Should Ask a Divorce Attorney

questions, DuPage County divorce lawyerIf you are considering a divorce or you have made the decision to end your marriage, you may be getting all sorts of advice from family members and friends. There is a good chance that some of them have recommended hiring an attorney—and they probably have just the right lawyer for you. While whatever attorneys they have in mind may have helped them in the past, you need to select a divorce attorney who is the best fit for you and your situation.

At our firm, we encourage potential clients to ask as many questions as they would like and to learn more about our lawyers before making any decisions. During these conversations, many individuals ask similar questions—questions are that extremely important in helping people choose a lawyer and a law firm. It is up to you to decide what constitutes a satisfactory response, but the lawyer you select should be able to answer questions such as:

  • How much experience do you have in family law? An attorney with many years of experience in divorce and family law matters will have a working knowledge of the applicable state laws, as well as a familiarity with local courts. A lawyer who is younger and has less experience may cost less but may also be willing to work harder as he or she looks to build a positive reputation;
  • Who will handle my case? The names of the partners in a particular law firm may be obvious, but will one of them really be doing most of the legwork on your case? You have the right to know if your case will be mostly handled by paralegals or associates. Remember that you might pay more in fees if a partner does most of the work;
  • What is your approach to divorce? Some lawyers are proud of their reputation as a “bulldog” in divorce cases and all but refuse to compromise. Other attorneys are skilled negotiators who like to develop creative solutions. Still others practice between the two extremes. It is important to find an attorney who is willing and able to practice in a manner that reflects your values and needs;
  • What is your firm’s fee structure? You deserve to know if every phone call or text message from you will result in billable hours for your attorney. You should also know in advance if rates increase for court time or travel. Be sure to ask about inter-office conferences also, as some firms will charge for several attorneys’ time even if you did not know that a meeting or conference about your case was taking place.

Any question that you ask should lead to more detailed discussions with a prospective lawyer. It is up to you to learn as much as you can during your first conversation so that you have the information necessary to make the right decision.

Contact Us Today

At Andrew Cores Family Law Group, we welcome your questions and we look forward to answering them openly and honestly. Contact one of our experienced DuPage County divorce attorneys to schedule a free consultation today. Call 630-871-1002 for an appointment at any of our three convenient office locations.





Does It Matter If I Move Out Before Filing for Divorce?

Wheaton divorce lawyersRight this moment, you can probably think of at least one couple that you know who are living separately but who have not yet filed for divorce. When a couple is having marital problems, it is not uncommon for one spouse to find a new place to live while making decisions about the future of the relationship. This happens so frequently that most people would not consider filing for a divorce while continuing to live in the same home as their partner.

It is important to understand that just because something happens frequently does not make it a requirement. You might be somewhat surprised to discover that the law in Illinois previously required a period of living separate and apart prior to a divorce, but the requirement no longer exists. Today, a couple looking to get divorced could potentially do so without any type of separation at all.

An Antiquated Approach

Up until several years ago, a couple who wished to get divorced on the basis of irreconcilable differences—otherwise known as a “no-fault divorce”—was required by Illinois law to live separately for up to two years before the divorce judgment could be granted. Court rulings over the years clarified that the requirement of living “separate and apart” could be met while the spouses remained under the same roof, but in most cases, one spouse usually found a different place to stay. The law allowed couples to shorten the separation requirement to six months if both spouses agreed, but it could not be waived entirely.

Moving Forward

In 2016, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) underwent a serious overhaul. As part of the reforms, Illinois legislators recognized that forcing a couple to wait in limbo for up to two years was unnecessary and often a waste of time. Starting on January 1, 2016, the separation requirement was removed altogether from the IMDMA. If a couple agrees on the necessity of the divorce, the case can be heard and finalized right away. If the couple does not agree but one spouse moves out, the court will accept a six-month period of living separate and apart as irrefutable proof of irreconcilable differences.

While the updated law is intended to streamline the divorce process, most couples who are headed for divorce will probably continue to separate first. The removal of the six-month minimum, however, will allow things to move faster in many cases. For example, if a couple splits up to consider their options, they may reasonably reach a decision within three months. Under the old law, they would still have at least three months to go before any real progress could be made. Today, they can move forward as soon as they make a decision to do so.

Call Us for Help

If you are considering a divorce and have questions about what the law in Illinois requires, contact an experienced Wheaton divorce attorney. Call 630-871-1002 for a free, confidential consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.