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Wheaton divorce modification attorneyYour life does not, of course, remain static. You may move, remarry, have children, or experience any other major event that will cause drastic life changes. If this happens, it may be necessary to make a modification to your divorce judgment, because what once was acceptable may now be too expensive, or it may be inequitable in terms of cost or time spent. Still, a modification may not be made simply on a whim. There are requirements that must be met in order to make such adjustments.

What Can Be Modified?

Under Illinois law, almost every part of a divorce decree can be modified if sufficient evidence is shown for the necessity. Most of the time, updates are requested due to changes in living conditions, such as the loss of a job or a relocation. Generally, however, the most common type of change requested in Illinois is the modification of spousal or child support.

To have a modification granted, the movant must show a substantial change in circumstances. That substantial change must be shown even if your situation is in dire need of adjustment, because without that requirement, in theory, any spouse could just appear in court and demand a change without justification.

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DuPage County divorce enforcement lawyerIn divorce cases, child support or spousal maintenance payments are often ordered. If you have been awarded spousal support or child support, chances are you need those payments in order to provide for your family’s needs. In some cases, a spouse may not be consistent in making support payments, or he or she may refuse to pay them altogether. Not only can this be frustrating, but it can also result in serious legal ramifications for the non-paying spouse. Both types of support orders are legal court orders, meaning a person can face harsh consequences if they are not followed. Illinois courts have various ways of enforcing support orders when this becomes necessary.

Failure to Pay Support in Illinois

The state of Illinois does everything in its power to ensure that those who are required to pay spousal support or child support do so. There are several different ways a person can be held in contempt for failing to pay a support order, according to the Illinois Non-Support Punishment Act. A person may be found to be in contempt if he or she:

  • Willfully refuses to pay maintenance to his or her ex-spouse, with the knowledge that his or her ex needs such maintenance.

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DuPage County child support attorneyWhile it might be easy to assume that fathers usually end up being the ones paying child support after divorce, the truth these days is much more complicated than that. Although prior views of fathers being the primary breadwinners and mothers being the primary caregivers in the family dynamic were true for many years, this has become less and less common in this day and age. A look at the latest information proves that the times are certainly changing—as are the trends in child support and spousal support.

Latest Developments in Child and Spousal Support Defy Stereotypes

In 1979, the Supreme Court ruled that all alimony must be viewed as gender-neutral. This opened the door to men not always having to be the ones who are financially responsible for spousal maintenance payments after divorce. Since then, the latest developments in child support and spousal support payments alike have progressed in a way that defies stereotypes. For example:

  • The latest trends suggest that more and more women are paying some sort of support to men after divorce. Whether it is child support or spousal maintenance—or both—there has been an uptick in women paying money to their ex-husbands, as reported by many divorce attorneys over the last few years. This is representative of an overall shift in the economy, as not only are both men and women working full time despite being married and having kids, but in some cases, women are even becoming the primary breadwinners. In fact, Pew Research has found that mothers are the primary income earners in four out of 10 families in the United States.
  • As more women pay child support or spousal maintenance, more data is coming in to suggest that men are more likely to fulfill their financial obligations after divorces than women. Within the last decade, some data suggests that while about a quarter of all men failed to make their child support payments, close to 10% more women failed to make those same payments. In other words, the common stereotype of “deadbeat dads” is not always the case.

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Wheaton divorce attorney for bankruptcyIn many cases, finances can be a leading factor in the choice to get a divorce. Married couples might be faced with difficult financial challenges, such as the expenses related to serious health problems or the loss of income resulting from unemployment. If a marriage was already unsteady, or even if it was seemingly going well, disagreements over finances can often be the catalyst for the breakdown of the relationship. Depending on your financial situation as a married couple, you might be considering both divorce and bankruptcy. Since both of these are major life events and significant legal decisions, careful thought must be given to them, and the appropriate time must be chosen to proceed with each.

Reasons to File for Bankruptcy Before Divorce

If you and your spouse are on the same page about your finances, and you share the majority of the debt, filing a joint bankruptcy before beginning the divorce process might be the right move for you. Here are some reasons why you may choose this option:

  • Affordability—The cost of a joint bankruptcy filing and an individual bankruptcy filing are the same. If you two decide to file for bankruptcy separately when you are divorced, the process will be twice as expensive.

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Wheaton, IL spousal maintenance attorneyWhen you get divorced, you may be at a financial disadvantage, especially if you have been a stay-at-home parent or have been out of the workforce for a significant period of time. Fortunately, you may be able to receive spousal maintenance that will allow you to continue living at the standard you have come to expect during your marriage. One of the facets of spousal support that deserves special attention is reentry into the workforce. If you believe that you need education and/or training before you can begin working and supporting yourself, it is completely acceptable and reasonable to ask for financial assistance to help address these needs.

Reasons to Ask for Education Assistance Following Divorce

There are many reasons to ask that education assistance be included as part of a spousal support award. These include:

  • Self-Sufficiency—If you get the training and education you need to land a well-paying job, you will be on your way to being able to support yourself in a way that might not have been possible during your marriage. This will not just be for your benefit; if your ex-spouse contributes to your professional growth and assists you in becoming self-sufficient, you may no longer need to receive financial support.

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