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DuPage County divorce attorney spousal supportIf you have kids from a prior marriage, then you know that the divorce proceedings are hardly the last time you will hear from your former spouse. There are all sorts of things that you two must continue to work through, especially if your children are under the age of 18, including child supportparenting timeparental responsibilitiesspousal support, and much more. But how will this change if you decide to remarry? Will your new spouse be responsible for any of the parental responsibilities or child support? How will spousal support change? While at one time there was a clear-cut answer to all of these questions, in recent years, there is much more gray area when making some of these determinations in Illinois. The following is a look at how remarriage can change things after your divorce.

Remarriage and Its Impact on Divorce Obligations

With regards to spousal maintenance, the following is true in Illinois:

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Wheaton spousal maintenance lawyerOn January 1, 2019, a provision of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 went into effect that will impact divorce cases going forward. This law eliminated the tax deduction for spousal support in divorces finalized on or after that date. The effects of this change to the law are still being felt, and many long-term results have yet to be seen. In many cases, it has required people on both sides of a divorce involving spousal maintenance to be more savvy and resourceful when it comes to reaching a settlement.

How Has the New Law Affected Taxes on Spousal Maintenance?

For many years, maintenance (which is also referred to as spousal support or alimony) was taxed as follows:

  • The spouse paying maintenance would be able to deduct the amount of support payments from his or her taxable income.
  • The spouse receiving maintenance would pay income taxes on the support payments.

Under the new law, there is no tax deduction for the payor of spousal support and no tax on these payments for the recipient. However, this change only applies to divorces that were completed after December 31, 2018. For divorces finalized on or before that date, spousal maintenance will continue to be taxed as it had been previously. In other words, the new law taxes spousal support payments in divorces completed in 2019 or later the same as child support payments.

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DuPage County spousal support lawyerAlimony, also called spousal support or maintenance, is a payment from the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse during divorce or after the divorce has been finalized. There are various forms of spousal support, and these may be awarded based on the needs of the lower-earning spouse and the means of the higher-earning spouse to pay. A few examples of types of spousal support include reimbursement alimony, lump-sum alimony, rehabilitative alimony for vocational training or education, temporary alimony paid during the divorce, and permanent alimony.

In most cases, alimony is not permanent; instead, it is set for a specified length of time and, after that time period ends, the payments will cease. As a potential paying spouse or receiving spouse, you likely have questions about how the court makes a decision about alimony, or how both parties may reach a mutual decision about alimony outside of the courtroom. A skilled DuPage County spousal support attorney can provide all the details you need to know and assist you in reaching an outcome that provides for your financial needs.

How The Court Awards Alimony

According to Illinois statute 750 ILCS 5/504, the following factors are used to determine whether maintenance is appropriate:

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support, Wheaton divorce lawyersUnder the law in Illinois, children have to right to expect financial support from both parents, regardless of the adults’ marital situation. The same is not true, however, for divorcing spouses. While there may be situations in which long-term spousal maintenance is appropriate, there is no inherent assumption that it will be granted. Instead, in the absence of an agreement either at the time of divorce or prior, such as a prenuptial agreement, the court will examine the applicable circumstances and decide if an order for spousal support is necessary.

Negotiated Maintenance and Prenuptial Agreements

Most aspects of divorce can be settled fairly amicably through the process of negotiation. You and your spouse may be able to reach an agreement regarding spousal support with an arrangement that works for your particular situation. Spousal maintenance provisions can also be included in a prenuptial agreement, created prior to your marriage. As long as such agreements are workable and relatively fair, they are likely to be accepted by the court.

Court-Ordered Maintenance

When you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement regarding support, the court will review the circumstances of your marriage and divorce. It will be up to the judge to decide whether or not to award spousal maintenance, and to determine the amount to be paid based upon provisions in the law. The court is expected to take into account:

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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:

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