Tag Archives: alimony

Spousal Maintenance: Considerations for a Stay-at-Home Parent

maintenance, DuPage County divorce attorneyIn generations past—or so television and movies tend to depict—the average American family relied on a single income provided, in most cases, by a breadwinning father. The mother was primarily responsible for staying home, maintaining the house, and raising the children. Such is no longer the case for the “average” family, as more and more households need two working parents to maintain an acceptable standard of living. Some families, however, have the means and desire to allow one parent to stay home, and many decide to just that. For these families, a divorce can have a dramatic impact on the parent who stayed at home, often leaving him or her struggling to become self-sufficient.

Asking for Maintenance

Maintenance, also known as alimony or spousal support, is one the tools that a court has at its disposal to help a stay-at-home parent during and after a divorce. According to Illinois law, the court may award spousal support if it finds that such an award is appropriate and necessary to alleviate the financial effects of the divorce on an economically-disadvantaged spouse. When deciding on the appropriateness of maintenance, the court will take many factors into account. A spouse’s role as a stay-at-home parent is part of the equation, but it is not enough, on its own, to make support necessary.

The court will also consider:

  • Each spouse’s contributions to the family, including the stay-at-home parent’s responsibilities;
  • The stay-at-home parent’s ability to generate income after the divorce;
  • Post-divorce parenting arrangements for the couple’s children;
  • How long the marriage lasted;
  • The standard of living established during the marriage; and
  • Whether the stay-at-home parent was given a larger share of the marital property instead of continuing maintenance payments.

Each Case Is Different

Stay-at-home parenting situations are as unique as the parties involved, and each case must be considered carefully by the court when maintenance is requested. For example, a very short marriage where one spouse took a year or two off work to care for an infant could receive maintenance, but an award is far from guaranteed. On the other hand, if one spouse sacrificed a career to stay at home for the better part of 20 years to raise three or four children, the court is far more likely to order support payments.

Let Us Help

If you are a stay-at-home parent who is facing an imminent divorce, you may have serious concerns about the future. Fortunately, the experienced DuPage County family law attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group are equipped to help. Call 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team and get the guidance you need today.





Will I Have to Pay Spousal Maintenance?

maintenance, Wheaton divorce lawyersSometimes referred to as alimony, spousal maintenance or spousal support refers to payments which one spouse pays to the other to help them transition to life as a single person. Maintenance payments are generally made by the spouse with the higher income and paid to the spouse with the lower income.

The purpose of spousal support is to restrict any one-sided negative financial effects of a divorce by providing an ongoing source of revenue to a spouse who earns less than his or her partner. The rationale behind spousal support is that one spouse—often the wife, but stay-at-home husbands are more common than ever—may have chosen to sacrifice a career to care for the family. Someone who has been out of the workforce and suddenly gets divorced will need time to acquire new skills and employment support himself or herself. Maintenance may also be appropriate to help an economically-disadvantaged spouse maintain a similar standard of living as compared to the one established in the marriage.

Who Pays Spousal Support?

The short answer to, “Will I have to pay spousal support?” is “It depends.” The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act contains the spousal support statutes on which such decisions are based. However, courts have leeway when deciding who gets spousal support and how much it will be. This is much different than child support payments, which are calculated by a more ridged set of parameters in Illinois. When deciding whether a spouse will receive support, the courts consider a number of factors, including:

  • The length of the marriage;
  • The standard of living established in the marriage;
  • The physical condition of each spouse including their ages, health, and disabilities;
  • The emotional and mental state of each spouse;
  • The length of time that the recipient of support would reasonably need to become financially self-sufficient;
  • Contributions made by either spouse to the career and earning capacity of the other; and
  • The ability of the paying spouse to make maintenance payments.

Spousal maintenance is generally meant to be rehabilitative in nature. Many support orders are temporary, lasting until the recipient spouse can get on his or her feet financially. Sometimes, the divorce decree does not specify a spousal support termination date. If this is the case, payments must continue until the court orders them to cease. A payer spouse is not required to pay spousal support to a spouse who remarries.

We Can Help

If you getting divorced and are worried about how spousal maintenance payments will affect your life, the dedicated Wheaton family law attorneys at the Andrew Cores Family Law Group are here to help. To set up a free, confidential consultation, call 630-871-1002 today.




New Federal Tax Plan May Increase Spousal Maintenance Expenses

tax law, DuPage County family law attorneyThe sweeping new tax law that President Trump signed in December of last year may significantly affect those who pay alimony or spousal maintenance in the future. One provision of the tax plan eliminates the 75-year-old tax deduction for maintenance payments. More than 800,000 couples get divorced each year, and in many of those cases, one spouse is required to pay some sort of spousal maintenance. Interestingly, some divorce attorneys are noticing an increase in divorce filings that may be due to couples wanting to finalize their divorce before the new alimony provision takes effect in 2019. Any divorce that finalizes on or after January 1, 2019 will be subject to the new law.

Tax Plan Eliminates Alimony Tax Deduction

Under the current tax laws, those who pay spousal maintenance are usually able to deduct those payments from their taxes. Right now, every dollar which a person pays in maintenance payments reduces the payer’s taxable income by the same amount. However, the new tax law will disallow divorcees from deducting spousal maintenance payments. Those who finalize their divorce in 2018 before the new plan takes place will get to deduct their spousal maintenance payments for the entire duration of their payment order. Some are concerned that the elimination of the deduction will increase the financial strain of paying maintenance and deprive the lower-earning spouse of vital income.

The new tax plan may make reaching agreements more difficult during divorce negotiations. Some experts predict that the elimination of the tax deduction for maintenance payments will lead to less spousal support being awarded to those getting divorced because some of that money will have to go towards taxes. Critics of the new tax plan fear that without the maintenance deduction, higher-earning spouses will not pay as much to their exes. The change is expected to result in an additional $8.3 billion paid in taxes from divorced couples over the next 10 years. Eliminating the alimony tax deduction may also complicate how child support is calculated and how property is divided during a divorce, as spousal maintenance is a factor in both of those determinations.

Contact a Knowledgeable Divorce Attorney

If you are considering divorce, a Wheaton family law attorney can help. At Andrew Cores Family Law Group, our dedicated divorce attorneys work with clients to help them achieve their financial and personal goals. To set up a free, confidential consultation, call 630-871-1002 today.